TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Monday, Sep 22, 2014
Business News

Have gas prices doubled under Barack Obama's watch?

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: April 10, 2013 at 01:30 PM

Q: Why do you fail to mention that the price of gas has doubled under this president?

- Fred, Sarasota

A: Here you go.

Average U.S. gas prices have doubled, from $1.83 to $3.72, since the inauguration of Barack Obama, though he's not the first president to see that happen.

Let's look back over the last decade, as that time period reflects the steepest rise in global demand for oil - primarily from growing economies in India and China.

Just looking at prices, here's what we found looking at data from the Oil Price Information Service.

When George W. Bush was first inaugurated in January 2001, regular unleaded gasoline in the United States averaged $1.43 per gallon. After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. economy slumped, and the price fell to $1.07 on December 18 that year.

Gas prices started coming back up and seemed to peak at $2 a gallon right around the next presidential election day, November 2004.

In January 2005 when Bush was inaugurated for a second time, gas cost $1.83 per gallon. That bargain didn't last long.

Gas prices shot up rapidly as the U.S. economy heated up and oil topped $100 per barrel. Gas soared to a national average of $4.11 in July 2008. That's a rise of about 125 percent.

Then the bubble burst.

Along with the stock and housing markets, gas prices plummeted, falling to $1.62 - about 20 cents higher than when Bush first took office.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, gas averaged $1.83 per gallon nationally (The same price as during Bush's second inauguration.) Since then, the global oil price has risen again over $100 per barrel, and gasoline rose in tandem, to $3.72 as of Sunday. That's up 104 percent since he took office.

For you history buffs out there, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices were about $2 per gallon through the 1950s and 1960s.

And here are the inflation-adjusted prices for gasoline at the time of each new president's inauguration in January, going back to Richard M. Nixon.

• Richard M. Nixon, 1969: $1.75.

• Gerald R. Ford, 1974: $2.00.

• James E. Carter, 1977: $2.00.

• Ronald W. Reagan, 1981: $2.89.

• George H. W. Bush, 1989: $1.60.

• William J. Clinton, 1993: $1.50.

• George W. Bush, 2001: $1.60.

• Barack H. Obama, 2009: $1.83.

Submit your question here or visit our Gas Prices page and retail writer Richard Mullins will get you the answer.


Submit your question here or visit our Gas Prices page and retail writer Richard Mullins will get you the answer.

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune

Comments