History Shows Gas Prices Don't Pick Presidents
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sitting presidents in recent history have had worse gasoline-price spikes during their tenures.
Newt Gingrich has slammed President Obama this week for a hefty rise in gasoline prices in an effort to rally supporters and add another condemnation against the president's record.
|Obama faces criticism at the pump|
"During the years I was speaker the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.13, and when President Obama took office in January 2009 the average price nationwide was $1.89 a gallon," Gingrich said in a Thursday statement. "Three years into the Obama presidency, the average is $3.47 a gallon."
Weekly U.S. regular gasoline prices for retail hit $1.84 for a gallon in the first week of Obama's presidency, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The lowest during his tenure came the next week at $1.838. Per-gallon prices peaked at $3.98 on May 23, 2011, but have settled at $3.59.
A 95% spike in gas prices since Obama took office hasn't pleased many American drivers -- it's even worse when you consider the 116.3% peak spike -- but this isn't the worst since 1990.
In fact, George W. Bush's administration experienced a 179.6% spike in gasoline prices during two weeks of his presidency. A regular gallon of gas peaked at $4.11 on July 7, 2008, which was 14 cents higher than the most expensive week in Obama's first term.
Gingrich and other critics have blamed price bumps at the pump on Obama's energy policies.
He has stubbornly prevented the development of American of oil and gas resources that could be used to meet greater demand with increased production," Gingrich said in the statement. "In spite of these resources, President Obama has opposed policies at every step that could lower the price of gasoline."
Maybe so, but Obama argued in his State of the Union speech that American oil production is at its highest in eight years and that the country has relied on the least amount of foreign oil in the last 16.
Energy analysts, economists and commodities experts offer another possible reason for the prohibitive expense.
Speculation about geopolitical risks tied to Iran and sustained global economic turmoil led by Europe have driven up oil prices. Further, oil is priced in U.S. dollars, so demand and prices jump when the greenback weakens.
Though it is unlikely that Obama can control speculation on oil, there is growing sentiment that prices will decline over the long run.
"We ... believe that the tightening of new CAFE (federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy mileage) requirements that take effect from 2012 will contribute to a further, gradual decline in gasoline demand as the year unfolds," said Abhishek Deshpande, an energy analyst for Natixis.