Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Gas prices up under Obama, but had just taken epic fall

Gas prices hit an all-time high in July 2008, then plunged alongside the global economy. Chart from Gasbuddy.com.
Gas prices hit an all-time high in July 2008, then plunged alongside the global economy. Chart from Gasbuddy.com.

"It doesn’t take an economist to figure out how a gallon of gasoline has increased by $1.62 in four years," said U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, in a recent newsletter to constituents. President Barack Obama's policies are holding domestic energy back, he said.

But experts said the main reason was the huge drop in gas prices right before Obama's inauguration, as the global economy went into crisis triggered by the United States' "Lehman moment," when a mega-investment bank's bankruptcy and the government's refusal to bail it out sent markets reeling.

Politicians’ failure to mention the crash in such comparisons is a "glaring omission," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.

"Without a recession," he said, "gas prices would probably not have gotten to that low before Obama took office."

Williams cited specific Obama policies on drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico plus his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.

The experts weighed each of those and concluded reversing them probably wouldn't have made much difference to the price of gas. Read on to find out why.