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.

president bush and oil, president bush and gasoline, gasoline prices president bush

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. The only problem that I see with this comparison is the old “all things being equal” assumption. World affairs have been much different than they were in the 90’s, so it isn’t really a fair comparison in that sense.

  2. So what happens when you compare the profits of oil companies in this same period of time.

    Somehow an 89% boost in profit for exxon doesn’t sound out of line with reality.

    If it were true that market forces have been driving the price of oil up, you shouldn’t see more profit being made by the oil companies because the profit margins should stay the same, unless you are keeping prices artificially inflated.

  3. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t done enough research to find out the difference between profit margins for the time period, although, I would find it tough to believe that Exxon has boosted their profit percentage by 89%.

    While I’m sure their gross profit might have jumped by that amount, I don’t think it’s profit percentage jumped by the same amount.

  4. lightsouwt2 says

    ExxonMobil’s profit in 1993 was $1.24 bil (before they paid in 1994 for the whole Valdez thing) and in 2006 Exxon’s profits were $39.5 bil

  5. What about the revenues?

  6. Considering we have been at war for most of President Bush’s administration, could that not have contributed to the substancial increase in fuel prices during his administration verses Clinton’s?

  7. Clinton had warm winters which affected his oil pirices unlike Bush. Clinton did not have to compete with the demand for oil with China, India and Latin America as Bush does now. Clinton did not have a hurricane damages the refineries in the Gulf. Oil companies make less then a dime per gallon. Their profits come from demand. when oil hit 100 a barrel their stock dropped because that meant demand would drop.
    State and Federal Taxes account for over $1.00 a gallon.

  8. Steve Carmer says

    Apologists can actually say with a straight face that $1.46 a gallon to now over $3.00 was not Bush’s fault? Record oil company profits, and I don’t mean records for them, records for ANY company EVER? Simply amazing…

  9. Bush Bashing assholes don’t know what they’re talking about

  10. The April 5 comment by another John pretty much sums up the intellectual capacity of anyone in the 30 some-odd percent of Americans who still view Bush and Company favorably.

  11. Aint no bush bashing asshole here hata! says

    oh puh-leeze it was all of Bush’s fault…. Bill Clinton was one of the best Presidents… he gave our county a gain surplus of billions when he was in office… what did Bush give us… ummm.. taxes, high prices in everything, majorly high gas prices, war, and dead bodies….! so there you go!

    • Lmao…. So is Obummer at fault now, you stupid idiot. People like you make life entertaining. Just reading your gibberish makes my day 🙂

  12. the stats speak for themselves.I cant wait till we get Bush out.

  13. Nice reply, very informative. Just because you voted for for Bush does not mean you still have to support him.

    Next time tell us how we are wrong.

  14. Aint no bush bashing asshole here hata! says

    yes sir-ree… bush got to go… heheha! are you interested in gurlos with a big bush down there or none…? exactly none right? so what im trying to say is we dont need bush as president either… he made the richer get richer and the poorer even poorer! dang Republicans! kiss this asian bleep!

  15. Aint no bush bashing asshole here hata! says

    yes sir-ree… bush got to go… heheha! are you interested in gurlos with a big bush down there or none…? exactly none right? so what im trying to say is we dont need bush as president either… he made the richer get richer and the poorer even poorer! dang Republicans! kiss this asian bleep! ha!

  16. In my oppinion Bush should be impeached and thrown in jail. He has done far worse than Clinton did. After all all Clinton did was get a BJ.

  17. Just a bj…”I did not have sex with that women.” That was no big deal. Like its no big deal that thousands of pre-teens, teens and young adults are now “not having sex” yet still contracting the hpv virius which is the leading cause of cirvical cancer in women ages 14-29…Guess its no big deal that they cant have kids? Keeps the population down…which means less demand for oil…so those skyrocketing gas prices won’t increase as much. I would think all of the “green” happy poeple out there would be thrilled at the rise in gas prices…after all dont they all drive hybrids. These high gas prices should only be hurting the gas consuming republicans…and soon they will all be forced to by more fuel efficiant cars…and the world will be a better place…so if it is GWB’s fault for high gas prices…he should be hailed as a hero of the planet for doing something that is really getting the attention of everyone.

  18. I agree with the above statement about profits being grotesquely inflated along with the prices. Repubs have been trying so hard to believe that their white knight, G-Dub, could not be capable of helping oil companies rip America off, citing wolrd affairs are what cuasing prices to go up.
    Although there is some truth to that (even though some of the world affairs that have gone bad have been caused by this administration to begin with), overall, oil companies have experienced mind boggling profits during the Bushee years.
    Forbes does an annuual “top 2000 companies in the world” list, and for the first time in history, 3 of the top 5 companies are oil companies. Ya still wanna use the “world affairs” card on this one Fuel Additive?

  19. sex and oil prices have nothing to do with one another.When Bush got in gas was about 1.40 to 1.50 per gallon, now its over 3.60. 7 years later. Do the math. Thats over a 200% increase. ( I wish my paycheck would do that) Besides when Bush was in the running, he told the big oil tycoons ( his buddies) that if he is elected he will take care of them. What happend? Record profits in the oil industry. They are all crooks (Bush and his buddies) any way ya slice it.

  20. lol its 2008 now and gas is almost at 4.00 how do you feel now love it when in doubt do the clinton bashing gas prices rose that little bit because things where changing not cause he was helping out the select few. Man I’d feel reatarded for writing this… Sad thing is your probly complaining now about… if you make under 400,000k and support bush lol well theres a reason your stuck in that bracket

  21. This is for the John who said:
    “Bush Bashing assholes don’t know what they’re talking about.”
    President Bush is the worst president in U.S history in my opinion & many others.I did not vote for him in either of his terms.
    In case you didn’t know bush is an oil man & although we would never be able to prove it he is getting very very rich from Americans.
    So I believe it is primarily our Presidents fault.
    He has done nothing but laugh @ the issue
    John you are an Asshole!

  22. I agree! The Bush administration is destroying our country! That guy John must have a very low IQ

  23. I think we need to work on drilling more oil wells in the United States to help our own people. I think the President needs to help with the prices of oil before he send all kinds of money over to other countries to help them out. There are people in the United States going with out heat or food just to get gas for cars to work.

  24. Long Islander says

    Why am I paying $4.35 per gallon? I read some place to expect $5 by labor day and $8 / gallon by New Years. Why? Is it really supply is short?

  25. jim smith says

    Relax…. gas prices will come down about 40 days before the elections, so the republicans can take credit and retain the whitehouse

  26. it is eady for people that are not paying 160 dollars a week for gas just to go to school (i needed to take out a student loan for this semester just to pay for gas), to have nothing against bush, who instead of wasting all that money in war should do something smart for once!!!

  27. I think you are protecting Bush ans he should have had been impeached a long time ago. But americans are too weak.

  28. OK Idiots. There is no way any president can allow gas prices to go up. Ask anyone to explain how Bush has manipulated, or let oil companies raise the prices, and they have no answer. I am not a Bush defender. I am just tired of how ignorant Americans are. You don’t like the president, blame him. Oil is a world market, not a US market. So Bush raised the price of oil for Europe too I guess. You morons need to go back to school and study political science and economics. I think the country would do a lot better if people actually knew what the government did, and also how economies work. The only thing that Bush could have done for oil companies is given them subsidies. That’s it. And that has nothing to do with the price of gas. The sad thing is that ignorant people vote. I am not saying that smart people can’t vote for the same one that ignorant people do, but it’s for different reason. Oh yeah. I would much rather have 30% voter turnout if those were actually intelligent voters than have 100% turnout of the MTV, do no research, “give me” generation of voters. I am a health economist. So I know just a wee bit about economics. Have a wonderful day.

  29. LLOYDC123 says

    Poor oil companies, just not making enough money.

  30. LLoyd is the idiot says

    Look at the history of Replucans as presidents. For the most part they run up the debt and soon inflation follows. And Republicans always expand the government. In fact they do the opposite of what they preach. The numbers are easy to look up. Yes Bush is a front man with for big biz including big oil. His handlers are crooks and so are the Dems. All governments are corrupt and always have been. If you defend them any of them then you are either rich or stupid.

  31. banyan99 says

    Way to go Erik! Thanks for impressing us all with your economic prowess. The current oil subsidies range between $30 – $60 billion per year, not including the estimated additional $40 – $115 billion spent on protection while transporting the oil. ( Oil IS a world market, but have the prices around the world gone up 300% in the past 7 years like they have in the US? Has the demand gone up or the supply gone down 300% in that time? Please explain to us ‘Oh Economics Genius’ this amazing phenomenon.

    What did Bush do before he became governor of Texas? Hmmmm let me think… was it…Green Peace? No, that wasn’t it… Oh, that’s right, he was an oilman. Silly me, must have slipped my mind. Oilman in the White House and oil companies have a 750% increase in profits between 2004 and 2007. ( Hmmm, AND the price of gas increases 300%? Please educate all us ‘morons’ who didn’t spend our time in college studying economics. You have no facts to back up any of your statements, other than the fact that you’re ‘a health economist.’ If you’re such a gifted economist AND you’re sick of us ‘idiots’ educate us. Please explain to us the economic factors we’re just to stupid to see. Oh, don’t forget to use small words.

  32. All I can say is thank you banyan99!!!!!

  33. It is also commonly known that Bush ran his oil company into the ground. Think about it, he drilled for oil in Texas and couldn’t find any.

    Good enough to be governor of an oil state, though!

    Any thoughts on Palin and her take on governors of oil states and business experience?

  34. Ya know if I were as stupid as Bush.I would have surrounded myself with smart people . Obviously he didnt. Impeach his ass. Were being led by an idiot, who has the attention span of a fly.

  35. all I know is, my business depends on gas prices. my cars and trucks and equipment run on gas. because of the price of gas , I just make enough profit to pay my household bills , thats hardly a profit. I blame the Republicans , and the democrats for letting it happen I dont trust repulicans at all. I dont really trust any Politician , but I vote independent or democrat because they are the lesser of two evils.

  36. Impeach Bush!!!!!! Throw his criminal butt in prision, along with his idiot bubbies.

  37. buddies

  38. I didnt vote for Bush , either time. I cant stand him, I think he is the worst president in US history, hands down.He got this country in a slump that , I am not sure we can get out of. At least not in the near future. It took 8 year of Bush , to get this way , its probably going to take us at least that much time, to get out of this nightmare.

  39. Jim Smith was so right. GAS PRICES ARE GOING DOWN! Damn who knew 3.25 for a gallon of gas could get me so excited. Damn you Bush, damn you and all of your croonies.

  40. Evendently , ya dont know your ass from a hole in the ground.Tell me something about the economy. I lived it in the real world. I really wish Bill Clinton could run again.

  41. Erik , live in the real world for a few years. Then, tell us something about economics.( Sounds like you took economic lessons from Bush.

  42. You know, the numbers are staggering, and they are not backed up by anything that’s been associated as having impacted the cost of fuels. In fact, with the clear indications of significant rise of gas prices solely in the USA…it seems rather ignorant to believe that the reason our prices have gone up so much was due to international factors. Nor does it seem unreasonable that the sudden ENORMOUS drop in prices doesn’t have some political reasons behind it was well. The longer I live in the US the more I see that it’s been manipulated for quite some time, and whose pulling the strings? Why all of our dear politicians of course! VIVA democracy…home of the free and brave, at a price of course!

  43. Ha Ha you stupid liberal gas prices are $1.56 near my house so you can suck it

  44. Ahhh yer just pissed cuz you werent getting one

  45. i agree

  46. Mike Darookie says

    When Bush took office, he deregulated Oil companies, giving them the green light to dictate whatever they wanted to charge for gas.

  47. What is it now under Obama? I bet the Libs change their minds now.

  48. great stuff. Do you have an RSS feed? And also would it be cool if I put in your feed to a blog of mine? I have a site that draws content via RSS feeds out of a few sites and I’d like to include yours, most people really don’t mind considering I link back and everything but I like to get approval 1st. Anyhow let me know if you can, thanks.


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

  2. The Bush Administration and Gasoline Prices |

    \r\nIs the Bush Admin really behind the spike in oil/gas prices?\r\nOK Idiots. There is no way any p

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