We’re Talking about Gas Prices?

We’re Talking about Gas Prices?

Here is a partial list of “issues” this blog either does not care about or at least does not pin on our federal leaders:

  • The contracts of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or even Kirk Cousins
  • Semi-annual switches between daylight savings time and standard time, or the relative merits of either
  • Gas prices*

*Our level of political interest in these topics is like that of basketball legend Allen Iverson when asked about his dedication to practicing his sport. The title of today’s post recalls Iverson’s famous speech.

The old question, “What does that have to do with the price of beans?” was a rhetorical way of calling someone’s point utterly irrelevant, off the subject, or possibly misleading. That, and more, is our reaction to the current political complaints about prices at the gas stations and how “Biden” or federal policy supposedly caused the recent increases.

In short, what does our federal government have to do with the price of gas?

What Goes Up…

Correlation and causation are two different things. That is a sophisticated way of saying that events happening after or during other events are not necessarily caused thereby. The fact that Iowa won the Big Ten in basketball (women and men!), did not result from any political decisions by the state governor, for example, nor did the fact that both teams lost the next weekend in the NCAA Tournaments. 

This example displays approximately the same level of causation as between today’s gas prices and Joe Biden.

For the history buffs out there, Principle Based Politics has studied the gas prices for this century. The biggest increase started in 2001 and continued until 2008, when George W. Bush, from oil-rich Texas, was in the White House. During that time, prices rose from roughly $1 to $4 per gallon. The biggest decrease was in 2008 also, when the same George Bush was president, and prices fell abruptly from more than $4 to less than $2. Under President Obama, prices then rose again from $2 to $4, before falling back to around $2. Under President Trump, pump prices went from $2 to $3, then back to $2.

Were Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump to blame for the increases, or should they get credit for the drops during their administrations, or both? Neither. Did they allow drilling, stop drilling, build pipelines, stop pipelines, drill, stop, build, then stop building, favor green energy then disfavor it, all causing prices to go up and down every year or two? No.

Today’s high prices are not caused by any president, a pipeline decision, or drilling leases*

*We have read there are a thousand new leases issued by the federal government and yet to be used. Moreover, the Keystone XL Pipeline was only 10 percent completed when President Biden took office, and it would not be operational now in any circumstances.

Prices go up, they come down, they go up again, etc. No politician should try to take credit or get blamed for either. It simply is not a political issue. Gas prices primarily are affected by market forces. Period.


A more gut-level reaction to the blaming and complaints about gas prices is this: Seriously, folks, when Ukrainian babies, children, and adults are starving, fearful and dying, and their country is being demolished city by city, are well-off Americans going to sit in our fancy, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, sip our latte, and complain via our new smart phones about gas prices as we drive to Florida so our kiddos can experience the happiness of Disney?*

*We do empathize with the poor and middle class who need to drive long distances to work, and we do understand that overall inflation is worsened by gas price hikes.

Sacrifice is necessary sometimes. Just ask any elderly person what rationing was like during World War II; butter, tires, meat, and, yes, gas rationing all were required. It is embarrassing to see relatively wealthy Americans complaining about gas prices today.

It also is embarrassing to see politicians (primarily Democrats) calling for a “pause” in the federal gas tax for the rest of 2022—just long enough for those politicians to get reelected. That is flagrant pandering, which, as we have discussed, is the opposite of principled politics.

Our country has more important, real issues on which to focus.

Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics. 

Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.

  • Ken Mcdewrmott
    Posted at 00:24h, 07 April Reply

    Gas is 95 cents a gallon in Venezuela, $1.30 in Kuwait. $4.50 A Gallon in the United States . How is that possible ? When oil is sold as a commodity. Remember ,the United States is the largest oil producer in the world. The President of the United States can have a direct effect on gas prices via his polices and executive orders… President Joe Biden’s indecision is absolutely the reason for today’s record high gas prices.

    • Admin
      Posted at 15:13h, 07 April Reply

      It will be interesting to see how gas prices move the remainder of this year. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Kevin Smith
    Posted at 03:05h, 08 April Reply

    @Ken Mcdewrmott — President Biden is NOT the reason for high gas prices. And Rump wasn’t the reason for lower gas prices. Did you give credit to Obama for lowering Bush’s $4/gallon gas prices or for the stock market going from 8,000 t0 20,000? I BET YOU DIDN’T, trumper.

  • Glenn Taylor
    Posted at 18:50h, 11 May Reply

    They are caused by his policies, he put in place the day he took office, NOW you see the result. The war made it worse, but it started way before the war started.

  • Joe Burns
    Posted at 19:54h, 27 May Reply

    Anyone who thanks the president is not to blame for high gas’s prices is an absolute moron. He stoped the pipe line with in minutes of taking office, along with all the greenery. The count can not run on green energy alone, you can use it to help supplement energy. California has black outs all the time so how does one charge their electric cars? Now let’s talk how dirty it is to make lithium battery’s and solar panels
    Do your research before you start to run your mouth on green energy, point in case Texas a few years a go during the winters storm no Piet to be had because of no back up. Thank before you talk

  • Mark P
    Posted at 20:05h, 27 May Reply

    Thanks for your comment Kevin, imagine there are really some like you that can see thru all the BS of the right…..

  • bruce freeman
    Posted at 13:56h, 04 June Reply

    Let’s face it. BIDEN is every bit the problem! lack of intelligence, incompetent Democrats with absolutely no clue of what’s going on in our economy. Electric car’s, Solar power and the new green deal is going to take us back to times worse than the depression. (actually were already here) Lack of intelligence by most people who voted for these clowns! you know who you are, you own this! This administration makes Jimmy Carter look brilliant. Biden, thanks for killing our economy, raising inflation, gas prices, food prices, destroying my retirement and oh yes, did I fail to say the housing market which is ready to implode.? hang on America, were in for the worst next two in half years we have ever experienced. And for all you Dems, step aside and let us show you once again how it’s done. It’s clear, we will be energy efficient once again it’s just a matter of time. You have screwed this up so bad even most Dems will be voting Republican. This is a prime example why voting is so important. You get what you vote for!!!!! If you voted for these knuckleheads maybe you should be paying these insane prices, since that’s what you ordered, but I will take the republican way and start enjoying my life again. WAKE UP PEOPLE, OWN IT!!!!!!!

  • Barbara A Rosenstreich
    Posted at 13:17h, 06 June Reply

    What about our inability to deal with recycling? Isn’t that a ” green problem””

  • Dusty
    Posted at 08:45h, 09 June Reply

    The regulations and fees the government charges the oil companies to produce oil and gas, the drilling restrictions and regulations have caused the biggest upsurge. It is simple, the Dems are in control and they want everyone to suffer enough with the high gas prices that we all go out and buy electric cars. what people don’t realize is that before you know it, owning and charging an electric car will cost far more than owning and fueling a gas powered one. They should stick with hybrids until we rebuild our electrical infrastructure and develop better electric cars, that use a power source that isn’t monopolized by China.We were energy independent under Trump for the first time in 72 years, lets get back to that.

  • Mark S
    Posted at 21:50h, 11 June Reply

    Sorry you are incorrect. That is a price per liter and only for the first 120 liters a month and only for people with a valid Fatherland Card. It’s still cheaper at about $2.00 per gal. BTW prices are over $7.00 a gal in England.

    Posted at 18:04h, 16 June Reply

    So frustrating reading some of these comments and I generally try to abstain from comment sections because people generally stick to their bias. So, let’s make a few corrections:

    1. Cancellation of the XL pipeline has caused this gas price increase. This is a false statement and has been flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news… or maybe they are just alternative facts!!! What idiot would say something like that?

    2. The Dems want everyone to suffer with high gas prices so that everyone buys an electric car. I could buy into this conspiracy if maybe oil companies were not making record profits. Why would the democrats want to make the oil companies rich? Especially, when you look at the $63.6 million dollars in 2020 that U.S. oil and gas companies spent on lobbying to the Republican party. Now we are near the mid-terms and who does the oil industry want in office? Based on their campaign contribution record they want Republicans in office. Those that will waive all environmental regulations and put profits over the health of Americans. In March 2022, the oil and gas industry contributed $49 million to state elections in Texas, with the governor receiving over $12 million. Must be hard to donate so much money for an industry strapped for cash! Do a little research on the practices of many of these oil and gas companies, such as Enbridge, and see how many people they knowingly poisoned and determine if you want them to be responsible for another pipeline that travels through our largest supply of fresh water.

    3. We were energy independent under Trump. This statement has been repeatedly fact checked and it depends on what your definition of energy independent is. Under Biden, the U.S. meets that same definition. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many false, misleading, or boldfaced lies told by the former president. According to the Washington Post, Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims over his four years in office and continues his stolen election facade.

    4. They are caused by Biden’s policies, he put in place the say he took office. According to BTU Analytic, the U.S. shale, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. oil output, could hit $90 billion this year, up from $37 billion in 2021. This estimate is only based on the top 32 publicly traded oil and gas producers. Britain has imposed a 25% oil profit tax to offset consumer costs. So, this issue is partially related to Biden and congress. We need our elected officials to step up to the plate, both Republicans and Democrats. They are all failing us, and how can I say this? First, oil profits are through the roof and the CEOs and CFOs have raved to their shareholders about their profits and the fact they do not need to increase supply due to their profitability. And secondly, the oil industry has even stepped up its donations to Democrats, Joe Manchin (D) $724,000, Kevin McCarthy(R) $396,000, James Lankford(R) $275,000, etc.…

    The fact of the matter is that our system allows the oil industry to get away with price gouging and there is no politician (maybe one or two) that will stand up to the industry and do anything about it. Both sides of the aisle will just throw blame at the other which leads to a frenzy of taxpayer/voters arguing for or against politicians who could care less about any of us. Biden/Trump it does not really matter, Trump was a complete idiot who had no sense of dignity or honesty, and Biden may not remember who the last president was, but Trump will lie about who stole the election. Vote them all out of office and eliminate the special interests that taint our politicians. Only then will we see things change.

  • Jenny Brandt
    Posted at 01:15h, 19 June Reply

    The Green New Deal was first introduced in 2016 by Jill Stein, the candidate for the Green Party. It committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030, costing $200 billion per year. It would create a Renewable Energy Administration to create up to 20 million new green-centered jobs. That would cost $400 billion a year.

    Isn’t that causation? President Biden announces that he is pouring billions into The Green New Deal and oil/gas companies raise their rates. After all, once The Green New Deal is completed (years from now, if ever), they may lose lots of money.

  • Dottie Woods
    Posted at 22:29h, 19 June Reply

    Ken McDewrrmit, why don’t you go to Venezeula then. Of course you might starve to death or be killed,, but hey, look at their gas pricesl

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