The Great Gas Price Myth

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 17 2012 4:21 PM

The Great Gas Price Myth

The Blaze claims to have found a John McCain ad that "predicted" the surging gas prices of the Obama era. "Obama presides over a national gas average of 3.86 a gallon," writes Benny Johnson, "and that includes states where the average is $4 and above — just as one of McCain’s ads promised."

That's not quite right. The ad, as you can see from the YouTube stamp, ran on July 21, 2008. Gas prices at that time were surging.

Screen shot 2012-09-17 at 3.19.11 PM

Then came the crash of 2008, and prices collapsed. Republicans like to start the price clock on the day Obama took power, January 20, 2009 -- i.e., near the bottom of the market. Prices in 2012 are not quite up to the level they were during the pre-crash spike. That was what McCain was referring to. The idea that Obama's policies "doubled" gas prices is a popular trope that's believable only if you write off the economic crisis. It's fun!

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Mad About Modi


Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.


Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.