Friday, February 22, 2008


...and a place down the street was selling it for $3.06. These prices have sparked some discussion on the Hattiesburg American forum, and I reproduce one of my posts there below:

All I'm saying is that the previous inflation-adjusted record average gas price was in 1981, when Reagan was in office and there was a war going on in Iraq. That same month, this is what happened:

"...U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he saw the possibility of improved ties with Baghdad and approvingly noted that Iraq was concerned by "the behavior of Soviet imperialism in the Middle Eastern area." The U.S. then approved the sale to Iraq of five Boeing jetliners, and sent a deputy assistant secretary of state to Baghdad for talks."

The declassified memorandum that details all this is here.

Reagan was also shot that month.

The new inflation-adjusted record average gas price has now been achieved during Bush's term. And strangely enough, there's a war going on in Iraq.

Coincidence? Not bloody likely.

I'm not at all saying that Democratic presidents haven't had their share of foibles--LBJ lying us into Vietnam, Truman using the atom bomb even though he knew Japan wanted and was trying to surrender, etc.

But I'm saying that when wars in Iraq converge with Republican presidents, we seem to get record average gas prices. And interestingly, in the case of both records, in '81 and '07, men named George Bush were either president or vice-president.

Also, not exactly sure what 1977 gas lines kenjutsu is referring to. The first Arab oil embargo was in 1973, when Nixon, yet another Republican, was in office.

There was of course the energy crisis of 1979, due to the effects of the Iranian revolution, and there were gas lines then.

"Back in the 1973-1974 period and in 1979, folks waited for an hour or more on gasoline lines that at times stretched for miles, and people could only buy gas on alternate days, depending upon whether their license plate ended with an odd or even number. The federal government even printed gas-rationing coupons, although they were never used."

Gas prices "climbed throughout the 90's?"

Gas prices, according to kenjutsu, began to "climb throughout the 90's." He notes that this started in approximately 1992, the last year Bush I was in office.

As ol' Ronnie Raygun said--"Trust, but verify":

All prices listed are for U.S. regular grade gasoline:

1/6/92: $1.04
12/28/92: $1.06
1/25/93: $1.05
12/27/93: $0.99

Point taken? No? OK, let’s skip ahead a few years...

5/26/97: $1.20
7/28/97: $1.16
1/5/98: $1.08
3/23/98: $0.99
1/4/99: $0.91
12/27/99: $1.26

I think we can conclude that the price of gas didn’t ONLY “climb throughout the 90's.” The price FLUCTUATED.

Gas prices under Bush

Lowest gas price of Bush admin.:

Lowest price since beginning of Iraq war:
5/12/03: $1.42

The price of regular has not been that low since then. And since March 14, 2005, gas has never been less than $2.

Where’s the data come from? From the Energy Information Administration in good ol’ Washington, D.C.

Under “Area,” click on “United States.” You have to have Excel or an Excel viewer to see the chart. All data above was taken from the first column.


Justin said...

The Iraq war has been a major factor in rising gas prices, but in the long term, it will be swamped by the simple fact that global supply is pretty much constant, while demand is rapidly rising, primarily thanks to China.

In one regard, it's a good thing that prices are rising now--the sooner they start increasing, the sooner we can adapt and start to wean ourselves from oil.

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