President Bush and Gasoline Prices

The other morning on my way to work, I was flipping through some radio stations when I heard one morning DJ talking about how low gas prices were before President Bush took office in 2001 and how high they had become since.

Because I have a natural distrust for most morning radio personalities (I think they’re sensationalists and just try to gain listeners by being outrageous and over the top), I decided to look into these claims and see what I could come up with.

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How much is President Bush to blame for high oil and gasoline prices?

Obviously, there are plenty of conspiracy theories out there regarding President Bush and how his administration has helped to manipulate gas prices to help out his Big Oil buddies. Personally, I don’t believe that this is the case (just so you know my bias), however, I think that he has tried to help out his buddies with a very relaxed tax code.

Regardless, we can save this conversation for another time. In the meantime, let’s get back to actual data regarding gas prices.

When President Bush took office on January 20, 2001, the national average gas price was $1.46 per gallon. Six and a half years later, on August 27, 2007, the national average gas price had jumped to $2.76, roughly 89% higher. Compounded annually, this represents about a 10% jump each year Bush has been in office.

Now, let’s compare the numbers over the same time period for President Clinton.

When Clinton took office on January 20, 1993, the national average gas price was $1.06 per gallon. six and a half years later, the national average gas price had jumped to $1.22, roughly 15% higher. Compounded annually, this represents about a 2% jump each year.

Even when you compare all of Clinton’s term (38% jump overall) against the first six and a half years of Bush’s term, the overall jump in gas prices between the two presidents isn’t even close. In order to meet Clinton’s “numbers” gas prices would have to fall to $2.02 per gallon – or roughly 36%.

While these numbers are pretty staggering, I’m of the belief that you’d have to be pretty nuts to think 1) Bush would have the ability to do this and 2) the President of the United States would want to harm the country like this. No matter what you think of Bush’s policy, when you look at it through a clear lens, I’m sure you’d come to the same conclusion.

To me, it seems pretty safe to argue that the main reason behind the oil and gasoline price jumps has far less to do with the Bush administration and more to do with a much higher worldwide demand for oil/gas than what was seen during the Clinton administration. With China and India needing more and more oil to keep their economies growing – not to mention the fact that U.S. demand has only recently dropped – prices were bound to go up at some point. It just so happens that it occurred during Bush’s time in office.

I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who disagree with me. However, all I ask is you remove any political bias you may have (either for or against the current administration), look ALL of the facts, and then make your own decision.


  1. You talk about how Bush helped the oil industry with oil prices. I don’t see Obama doing anything different except trying to please countries who don’t like us. We can drill here for our own oil but he still refuses to do so.


  1. […] Bush took office on January 20, 2001, the national average gas price was $1.46 per gallon Daily Fuel Economy Tip

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