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Gasoline prices have risen under Biden, but the claim used out-of-date data. By the time of the post, gasoline prices had retreated, making the increase under Biden 48% rather than 63%.
Experts say that the rise under Biden was largely independent of his policies. Gasoline prices rose initially because of an economic comeback after the pandemic slowed, and then spiked further after Russia invaded Ukraine.
As one of the most commonly noticed consumer prices, gasoline costs shape many consumers’ perceptions of inflation and the broader economy.
In an Oct. 23 post on X, formerly Twitter, West Virginia state Senate candidate Chris Rose, a Republican, sought to leverage voter concern about prices at the pump into support for a pro-energy agenda that would benefit his state.
Attached to the post was a graph showing how gasoline prices have fluctuated since President Joe Biden entered office in January 2021. The graph’s texth said, "Gas prices up 63% in just 31 months under Biden administration."
Gas prices have increased on Biden’s watch, but by the time Rose posted, they had risen by less than 63% compared with when he entered office.
Rose did not respond to inquiries for this article. He is running in Senate District 2, which includes parts of Wetzel, Marion, and Monongalia counties. Republican Charlie Clements holds the seat now.
To vet the amount of the increase on Biden’s watch, we examined weekly gasoline price data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal agency.
During Biden’s first week in office, the national average retail gasoline price was $2.39 per gallon. When Rose tweeted, the price had risen to $3.53. That’s an increase of just under 48%, not 63%.
Once we found the chart’s source, we found an explanation.
It came from a blog post from the Media Research Center, a group critical of what it considers liberal media bias. The identical gasoline price graph was one of several included in the post, which was titled, "Bidenomics: Five Charts the Media Don’t Want You to See."
The blog post was originally published Aug. 30, when the most recent weekly national average price was $3.87. That would represent an increase of almost 62%, which is close to what the chart said.
The problem for the accuracy of Rose’s Oct. 23 post is that the chart’s data was from Aug. 30 — and between those dates, prices at the pump fell from $3.87 to $3.53, a drop of nearly 9%. This is why the overall rise on Biden’s watch was 48%, rather than 63%, when Rose posted.
As it happens, prices have continued to fall. In the subsequent week’s data, prices fell to $3.47. That means the up-to-date rise on Biden’s watch is about 45%.
Also, while Biden’s policies may have marginally affected gasoline prices, experts say the price of gasoline — whether it’s high or low by historical standards — mostly isn’t something presidents can control.
As PolitiFact has reported, gasoline prices initially rose on Biden’s watch because of the recovery after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. As economic activity, commuting and travel rebounded, fuel demand rose faster than global supplies did.
Then, after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. NATO countries and allies sought to buy less Russian crude oil as punishment for its war, which has hampered supply. Other major oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, have largely resisted requests to increase production to fill the void.
Overall, this has kept global crude oil prices high, even though they have fallen from their peak in summer 2022.
Rose said that gasoline prices are "up 63%" under Biden.
Gasoline prices have risen under Biden, but Rose’s post used old data. By the time he posted, gasoline prices had retreated, making the increase under Biden 48% rather than 63%.
Also, experts say that the rise under Biden was largely independent of his policies. Gasoline prices initially rose because of an economic comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed, and then resumed rising after Russia invaded Ukraine.
We rate the statement Half True.
Media Resource Center, "Bidenomics: Five Charts the Media Don’t Want You to See," Aug. 30, 2023
U.S. Energy Information Administration, weekly gasoline prices, accessed Oct. 31, 2023
PolitiFact, "Have gasoline prices fallen to pre-Ukraine war levels, as Joe Biden said?" Nov. 30, 2022
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Rep. Carol Miller on gasoline prices under Joe Biden," Oct. 6, 2023
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