Please Stop With the Gas Price Thing

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!

7 thoughts on “Please Stop With the Gas Price Thing

  1. This is a political debate Dave. Your rational arguments and sound reasoning have no place here. Why don’t you focus on real issues like how Obama is Muslim and faked his birth certificate. Things like gas prices and the economy are much less important than these potential scandals.

  2. Funny thing is why don’t you write about the lies on Romney it only be fair and give equal time. Your always defending him do I’m only left to assume you agree with his policies. Let’s not look of how his policies have failed, no that would a waste of time.

    1. I don’t write about politics very often on my blog, you can look at the history if you want. The only reason I wrote this was because I see it over and over on Facebook. I guess I don’t have many friends who are Obama fans and thus are spouting lies about Romney. Besides, I am not blaming Romney for this. Also, I noted that Democrats are just as guilty, they blamed Bush for high gas prices. Either both Bush and Obama are at fault, or neither are. The point is, supporters of both parties manipulate the information to suit their needs. Finally, I am not a political analyst. But I buy gas on a regular basis since about 1998 so I have some memory and that is why I feel qualified to write about this whereas I don’t feel qualified to talk about other issues.

  3. You are absolutely right. Whenever this gas price stupidity was raised during the Bush years I made it clear that there is very little a President can do to manage gas prices. My problem was that did not stop this constant attack about Bush and gas prices. Now we have the same thing. There is very little Obama can do about them either. My problem is that, like almost everything else, Obama gets a relative pass–at least from the voices that loved to blame Bush.

  4. Wow, I can’t believe no one has posted the real reason that the price of gas went down to under $2.00 ($1.84) under Mr. Bush! It is simple supply and demand. No one had any money to go anywhere because the economy was so bad right then, and the supply soared, causing the price to drop. I certainly recall how bad it was economically for the country then, and that IS the reason the price of gas was so low. Comparatively, right now, the market says that people have the $3.33 per gallon to give for the gasoline, without economically debilitating effects. But gas is not close to $5.00 per gallon as it was in the middle of 2008!

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