Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
Nominal and Real Oil Price, 1870-2013 (Dollars per Barrel)
Historically, oil prices in nominal terms have remained remarkably stable, hovering in the range of 10 to 20 dollars per barrel. An increase in oil prices was usually associated with a recession. The first oil shock in 1973 and the second oil shock in 1979 saw a radical surge in oil prices, followed by a counter shock that brought back prices in the range of 20 to 30 dollars per barrel. When taking account of inflation (monetary debasement) the surge in oil prices after 2003 is not as acute in real terms than it was in 1980. The second oil shock implied a surge in real oil prices that was not surpassed until 2008 during the Third Oil Shock.