That "love of money" is the basis for our entire economic system. The idea is that you go out and obtain something, and then sell it for (you hope) more than you have invested in it. Whether you buy it, find it, invent it, improve it, or build it, the goal is the same. Typically you will sell what you have for as much as you can get, and you hope that what you have is something that a lot of people want.
Opportunities arise when what is available is in short supply, or is considered to be too expensive. That is when enterprising people go out and find additional sources of the same thing or devise alternatives to it.
In the "for what its worth" category:
Corrected to 2012 dollars, the average gasoline cost per gallon in 1918 was $3.75. It trended generally down (except for WW2) until 1973, when it was $2.00. There was a spike in 1981 to $3.37, then a low of $1.50 in 1998. Last month's peak average was $3.78 for regular, and $4.08 for premium.
The US fleet average for fuel economy was about 13 MPG in 1973, and is about 28 MPG now.
Curiously, the result is that it typically costs just about the same amount to drive to work now that it did in 1973.
Philosophically, there's a difference between the acquisition of wealth to take care of oneís needs and the love of money. I have a nice job and earn a decent salary, I donít work for the acquisition though, it is merely a means for me to feed my family, put a roof over their heads, pay my mortgage and live a comfortable life. I donít cheat people in my business, I donít eek up prices just to pad my wealth a little more, I treat them as I would want to be treated; which is a reasonable paradigm by which to live. The ďlove of moneyĒ or perhaps the term obsession is better suited, is different. In this scenario, the drive isnít to take care of oneís essential needs; but rather itís to accumulate as much wealth as one can regardless of the cost, whether personal or professional. Thats whatís driving the price of gasoline. Just like John D said, just one more dollar, one more dollarÖ but the funny thing is, or perhaps tragic, is that one single dollar could be a dollar off someoneís dinner table; therein lies my objection.
Concerning your thoughts on the price of gas then and now, itís not an apples to apples comparison. You canít simply apply an escalation factor and determine or justify its reasonableness. The method and cost of extraction and the processing of crude in the early 1900ís versus today are vastly different.
We could go on and on, you attempting to justify greed and me condemning it. The fact is no matter how it's presented, boofing is boofing is boofing; the only different is the size of the phallic used in the process.