Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Polled position: gas taxes and supercars

SUMMARY: We find that Clinton mischaracterizes savings from a gas tax holiday, while Obama gets it mostly right. Clinton also said that if she's elected, cars getting 100 miles per gallon are only a couple of years away. But experts (those elitists!) differ.

With the primary campaign entering its final stretch, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama argued energy policy in the run-up to primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Clinton argued for a gas tax holiday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, paid for with windfall profits from oil companies. Obama dismissed the measure as a political gimmick, saying it wouldn't gain voters much.

We looked at the following statements from the campaign.

• Clinton said that her gas tax holiday proposal would put $70 back in drivers' pockets. She neglected to say that's only if you're a family of four. We found she often omitted that distinction, giving the impression everyone would save $70. So we rated her claim False.

• Barack Obama calculated the savings per vehicle at a more modest $28. We found he got his math Mostly True and used reasonable assumptions to come up with the number. A word of warning: Economists say that $28 is a best-case scenario and certain to be reduced by increased demand.

• Clinton said prototype cars that get 100 to 150 miles per gallon are the wave of the future, and if she were elected president, you could buy a car like that "in a couple of years." Experts, though, say the new supercars are expensive, and a few years is likely too optimistic to get them on the road. We rated her claim Barely True.