August 21, 2012

Two Gas Price Graphs

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:00 am

First, after some finagling with URLs at (readers can replicate these two graphs, but the results will only be briefly viewable unless you stop loading the page at the right moment), here is what has happened to the price of gas since Barack Obama’s inauguration:


Here is what has happened to gas prices since George W. Bush’s inauguration:


Audience interpretation is welcome.


  • Associated Press, August 17 — “A senior Obama administration official says the White House is considering a potential release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”
  • Loren Steffy at the business blog, August 20 — “Maybe we should rename it the ‘Political Petroleum Reserve’”


  1. Well, clearly gas prices were held artificially low during W’s term because of all the oil we stole from the Iraqi people! {Just kidding}

    My man-on-the-street impression of gas prices from 1996 to about 2006 was that gas prices went up just due to regular inflation. A proper analysis would compare inflation to gas prices during the same period.

    I do recall that when gas hit $4/gallon in 2008, it felt abnormal. By alarmist mother-in-law believed and quoted CNN that gas would have $6/gallon by December 2008. I held her to her word and continue to remind her of her prediction as a way of saying, “You worry too much.”

    The high prices these days also seem abnormal, but there are some definite policies that I am now aware of that would cause prices to ‘necessarily skyrocket.’ Particularly, those policies are (1) use of ethanol, which decreases the energy content of a gallon of gasoline, and (2) the de facto moratorium of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The unrest in the Middle East due to the so-called Arab Spring can’t be helping things, either. Add to this China’s emergence as a huge energy consumer.

    Those are my guesses, made with a view through a foggy telescope.

    Comment by GW — August 21, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  2. #1, those are clearly all contributors, as are the “summer blends” which have no appreciable influence on pollution but are mandated.

    Comment by Tom — August 21, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  3. [...] Two Gas Price Graphs [...]

    Pingback by Two Gas Price Graphs | PERSUASION IN INK — August 21, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  4. Considering:

    EEEEvil Oil companies’ profits/gallon of gas = 9-11 cents. Fed/State/Local taxes/gallon of gas = 40-43 cents. Seems “fair”, right? (cough, cough)

    For every dollar of eeeevil profit that oil companies make, they pay THREE dollars of taxes. Also “fair”, or something.

    Although Ozymandias-on-the-Potomac now wants to release gazillions of gallons of our Strategic Petroleum Reserves to bring down prices (an existential threat to his own job), this “Densa” economic genius contends that DRIILING to potentially release many, many more times that amount onto current markets (and affecting “oil futures”) will not — NOT, I Say! — affect prices at the pump at all. Nosiree. (Riiiiight…)

    Yuppers, we’re in good hands all right (slowly tightening around our throats).

    Comment by Chris in N.Va. — August 22, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  5. Great points. Can’t be repeated often enough.

    Comment by Tom — August 22, 2012 @ 11:00 am

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