Gas Prices Have Risen $1.01 Per Gallon Since Obama Took Office


gasGasoline prices haven’t gotten much attention amid all the other bad economic news for Democrats heading into a final week of campaigning, but the price per gallon has climbed nearly 15 cents since Labor Day – a surprising jump, given that prices usually plummet before an election.The cost of a gallon of gas has eclipsed the $3 mark in several parts of the country and clocks in nationally at $2.82, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s up from $2.68 on Sept. 6, and overall about $1 higher than the week of Jan. 26, 2009, when President Obama took office and the per-gallon price was $1.81.

Analysts say the surge in pump prices defies historical trends that call for a drop-off after the Labor Day holiday, which signals the end of the summer driving season and the traditional dip ahead of the November election season.

“We’re puzzled by it,” said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s becoming increasingly expensive, and the great anomaly is that never happens before an election – prices always fall.”

Nearly 70 percent of the cost of gas is determined by the global price for a barrel of crude oil, which currently is priced at $81, according to the EIA, and experts say there aren’t many levers the president can pull to change prices dramatically in the short term.

Still, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t hurt politically – particularly on top of a 9.6 percent national unemployment rate that’s a millstone around the neck of Democratic incumbents across the country.

Even though the issue has been out of the news, 56 percent of Americans say gas prices are “extremely important,” according to a mid-October Associated Press-GfK poll that also found 29 percent rated prices at the pump as “moderately important” while 15 percent said they’re of little or no importance. Americans are split in their assessment of how Mr. Obama is handling gas prices, with 49 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving of his performance, that same survey found. Among likely voters, just 46 percent approve of his track record on gas prices and 51 percent disapprove.

That could be because voters are used to pre-election price drops.

In 2008, prices plummeted nearly 80 cents between Labor Day and the week of Oct. 20, and in 2006, they fell by about 50 cents over the same period. In 2007 and 2009, by contrast, prices held about steady.

Mr. Obama, a vocal advocate for clean-energy technologies, has routinely stressed the need to transition the U.S. to a renewable-energy-use pattern as a means to improve the environment and also seize on new business opportunities in the burgeoning sector. He pushed for home weatherization credits in the stimulus package, and his Environmental Protection Agency has issued tighter fuel-economy standards, for example.

{Washington Times/ Newscenter}


  1. As long as the dollar remains unstable, it will be an added component in crude oil prices. As long as the President continues to foster an atmosphere of fear and indecision – the dollar cannot stabilize.
    Green tech is a great idea – but until it becomes widely available, practical and affordable – ther’s nothing to talk about. (No, a $40,000 compact car that has a 40 mile range is neither affordable or practical.)