I have seen variations of it so many times that it is beginning to drive me insane.
January 20, 2009, gas was 1.84 per gallon.
Today it is 3.85.
Obama is to blame.
My first reaction, when I first saw this a few months back, was to try to remember that one day in 2008 or 2009 when gas was under two dollars. I moved back to PA at the end of seminary in 2005 and at least since then gas has been over two dollars. Perhaps the “fact” of $1.85 gas was a lie.
Thankfully, we have Google. I asked Goggle to show me “gas prices through the years” and the very first hit was a Historical Gas Price Chart from Gas Buddy. Ask and you shall receive! Thanks Google!
According to the chart, gas went over three dollars a few times in 2005 and 2006. Then throughout 2007 and 2008 it climbed, with a few small drops, peaking in the summer of 2008 at over four dollars a gallon. After that, it plunged, reaching a lowpoint of under two dollars right around the turn of the year.
This is the one piece of data the “Look how cheap gas was when Obama was elected” meme gets right. But to pick that one day or week when gas was cheap without the full graph of gas prices throughout all those years is just wrong. After all, why did gas go so high during the Bush years? If gas prices rising during Obama’s time are his fault, are gas prices rising during Bush’s time then Bush’s fault? Or, if Obama has no control over gas prices (as I am sure Democrats now argue), then Bush had no control when they rose during his time?
The other question is, what caused gas prices to plunge? Since the plunge happened at the time of Obama’s election, could we not infer that there was hope that Obama would turn the economy around, which led to the prices going down? Perhaps it was a false hope, but it is one explanation.
When I look at the graph, it does appear gas prices have been higher (over $3 average) for longer under Obama than under Bush. So there is an argument that under Obama gas is more expensive. It is a bit more nuanced that picking one day when gas was at its lowest in 8 years and comparing it to the peak we are in right now. Of course, we Americans are not interested in nuance. We are interested in factoids we can slam onto social networks.
This is not a post defending Obama. I am simply saying, use better arguments to convince me to vote for your candidate!