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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13, 2023. (AP) Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13, 2023. (AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13, 2023. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson December 15, 2023

Are gasoline prices under Joe Biden ranging from $5 to $8 a gallon, as Donald Trump said?

If Your Time is short

  • Former President Donald Trump cherry-picked these statistics. Although some stations are charging $5 to $7 a gallon, about 99.2% of U.S. gas stations are selling gasoline for less than $5 a gallon, GasBuddy.com data shows.

  • Not one of the nation’s roughly 150,000 gasoline stations is charging $8 a gallon.

For President Joe Biden’s critics, the summer of 2022’s record-high gasoline prices are a rhetorical gift that keeps on giving.

During a Dec. 13 rally in Coralville, Iowa, former President Donald Trump — the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — sought to compare gasoline prices on his watch to those under Biden.

"Gasoline prices are now $5, $6, $7 and even $8 a gallon," Trump said, adding that gasoline prices were "down to $1.87 a gallon" during his presidency.

Trump cherry-picked these statistics. For the vast majority of U.S. gas stations, his claim is inaccurate.

Gasoline prices under Trump, Biden

Gasoline prices are higher under Biden than they were under Trump. Federal Energy Information Administration data shows that the average gasoline price during Trump’s four-year term was $2.46 per gallon. During Biden’s presidency so far, the average has been $3.54. (These figures are not adjusted for inflation.) 

As Trump’s campaign staff told PolitiFact, monthly gasoline prices during his presidency never cracked $3 a gallon, while the price under Biden has exceeded $3 every month since May 2021, his fifth month in office. In June 2022, gasoline prices hit an average of $5.01 per gallon, a record high.

Gasoline prices rose initially during Biden’s tenure because of the post-coronavirus pandemic recovery. As economic activity, commuting and travel rebounded, fuel demand rose faster than global supplies did, driving up prices.

Then, in February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. NATO countries and allies sought to reduce purchases of Russian crude oil as a penalty. And other major oil producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia, largely resisted requests to increase production to fill the void, which hampered supply. 

Current gasoline prices

Since its summer 2022 peak, the price of gasoline has dropped significantly: During the week of Dec. 11, the nationwide average per-gallon price was $3.14.

Not only is the current national average far below the prices Trump cited, but it’s also rare to find any of the prices Trump referred to at an individual gas station.

GasBuddy.com collects crowdsourced data on gasoline prices across the country, compiling granular pricing statistics from the nation’s 150,000 gas stations. On Dec. 14, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, said his latest data shows that no station in the U.S. is selling gasoline for $8 a gallon. 

DeHaan said one station has a price above $7, about 150 stations are selling a gallon for more than $6, and about 1,000 are charging more than $5 a gallon. 

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Add up all of those stations and it works out to less than eight-tenths of 1% of all gas stations in the U.S. That means 99.2% of stations are selling gasoline at rates below what Trump said at his Iowa rally.

Who are these expensive outliers? DeHaan says they are often stations in rural areas with few competitors. For example, one is a Vidal Junction, California, station at a Sonoran Desert crossroads near the Arizona border. It is charging $7.80 a gallon, DeHaan said.

If you’re in Vidal Junction, "there are not many options," he said.

Outlier prices such as that one are not unique to the Biden era, DeHaan added. During Trump’s presidency, stations such as Suncoast Energy in Orlando, Florida — which is near an airport with thousands of returning rental cars a day — regularly ranked near the top of GasBuddy’s list of priciest gasoline, he said. 

"These stations are extremely limited, and by no means are they representative of market conditions," he said.

Also, gasoline prices vary by city, state and region, and some places have gasoline prices that are more expensive than the national average. 

California is always an expensive state to buy gasoline. The current statewide average is $4.46, and in San Francisco, the current average price is $4.50 a gallon. 

Still, neither the California or San Francisco prices come close to the ones Trump cited.

Outliers exist on the low side, too. DeHaan said four stations in Colorado are currently selling gasoline for $1.99 per gallon.

Trump’s claim that gasoline was $1.87 a gallon under his leadership

The lowest average weekly price during Trump’s presidency came the week of April 27, 2020: $1.77 a gallon, a bit lower than what Trump said at his Iowa rally.

However, this needs context: That low price came early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when fewer people were on the road. This pushed gasoline prices to unusually low levels.

By the time Trump left office, the average price per gallon was $2.38 — well below its current level under Biden, but still higher than the figure he cited.

Our ruling

Trump said, "Gasoline prices are now $5, $6, $7 and even $8 a gallon."

Trump’s statistics are cherry-picked. GasBuddy.com data shows that about 99.2% of U.S. gas stations are selling gasoline for less than $5 per gallon. Not a single one of the nation’s 150,000 stations is selling gasoline for $8 a gallon.

Because some stations are charging more than $5 a gallon, the claim contains an element of truth. But it ignores the vast majority of stations. We rate it Mostly False.

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Are gasoline prices under Joe Biden ranging from $5 to $8 a gallon, as Donald Trump said?

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