Current Happenings 2003

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Year 2003

August 12

Prices of Things in August 2003

Economists will tell you that prices are usually based on the law of supply and demand.  Still, I'm frequently surprised by how much prices of things change.  For example, avocados seem really expensive right now.  But long-distance to Europe is really cheap.

Here are some example prices this month:

Item Price Comment
A Single Avocado $1.29 I don't know why it's so expensive, maybe demand has gone up, maybe back-yard growers aren't allowed to sell to grocery stores because of the med-fly quarantine
1-minute call to Justin's cell phone $0.029 It's $0.05 if I dial direct through Verizon, I use Justin lives here in La Mirada.
1-minute call to London $0.029 Same Price! (Through BigZoo again).  However, I don't know anyone there, so I never call.
Breakfast at Sam's Burgers $3.78 That's about the bottom end of the price scale.  It includes 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, coffee, and tax.
1 gallon of gas $1.79 This varies a lot these days.  I don't pay much attention.  But this month, it's rarely below $1.60 or above $2.09. See a chart of what I've paid for gas in the past few years.
1 gallon of milk $3.19 Sometimes grocery stores have sales for $3.59 for 2 gallons.
120 GB Hard Drive (7200rpm) $97 Less than $1/Gigabyte is a good deal.  From
2003 Saturn L200 Sedan $18,345 I've never bought a new car in my life.  I paid $500 in 1993 for a 1976 Pontiac Firebird, and $1400 in 1995 for a 1981 Toyota Corolla Hatchback wagon.
First-Class Stamp $0.37 Still cheap for what you get.  Frequently I get mail the next day from across town.
1 pound Beef Rib Eye Steaks $3.97 Atlantic Salmon Fillets are the same price.
This chart isn't very interesting today, but will be entertaining to look at 20 years from now.  Everything will look really cheap.  Except the computer hardware, that will seem ridiculously expensive for what you get.

Right: local Albertson's ad for this week

World-Wide Prices

I have family living all over the world, so I asked them the price of certain items, just to compare.  Here's what I found out:

Item USA Price Mexico Price Togo Price Comments
Gasoline $0.47/liter


$5 pesos per liter
$0.54 USD per liter
$2.03 USD per gallon
365 CFA per liter
$0.64 USD per liter
$2.42 USD per gallon
The US is still one of the cheapest places to buy gas.

Less than two years ago, it was $0.899/gallon.

A cooked chicken $3.99 50 pesos


2000 CFA


Mom says it used to be 20 pesos ($1.86) in Mexico City four years ago.
Internal Travel (Round Trip) LA - Las Vegas (cheap air travel, 14 day advance notice) 280 miles


Tlapa - Mexico City (1st class bus) about 200 miles

324 pesos

Sokode - Lome ("taxi" ride) about 220 miles

6000 CFA

Togo is in West Africa. The "taxi" is really a van that carries 15-18 people.
An Avocado $1.29 3 for 5 pesos
1kg tortillas $1.38 6 pesos
An egg $0.083 0.6 pesos


The Mexico prices are based on today's rate of 0.0932 pesos per US dollar and 570 CFA per US dollar, although my brother says you used to be able to get 740 per dollar.

Converting Gas Prices USA/Mexico

Multiply US price ($/gallon) by 2.47 to get pesos/liter

Multiply Mexico price (pesos/liter) by 0.406 to get $/gallon.

Canada: Thanks to Wayne for sending me some prices from Canada (Kelowna, B.C. 18-Nov-2003):

Gas prices are at $0.75/liter Canadian dollars. A rotisserie cooked chicken cost $5.00 here and an egg costs $0.11.  (At today's exchange rate, 0.77, in US Dollars, that's $2.18/gallon, $3.85 for the chicken, and 8.5 cents for an egg.)

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Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Apr 20, 2006.