Another day, another lie from Glenn Youngkin, who basically lies like most people breathe. This time, Youngkin is claiming “gas prices” are “skyrocketing,” also that when he’s governor, he will “work to stop the rising cost of living” by – among other things – “suspend[ing] the recent gas tax hike to make life more affordable for all Virginians.”
So basically, every word of this is either a lie, or wrong, or distorted, or just flat-out stupid. Where to even begin?
- First of all, gasoline prices are NOT “skyrocketing” (“increase very steeply or rapidly”) in any sense of that word, assuming that words still have meaning after four years of Youngkin’s pal Donald Trump. To the contrary, according to AAA, “With the height of summer in the rearview mirror, motorists are seeing some relief at the pump, as the national gas price average dropped by a penny on the week to $3.17.” That’s right, they “dropped by a penny,” which is…uh…NOT “skyrocketing.” Same deal compared to a month ago – down a penny per gallon.
- Of course, gasoline prices are up from a year ago, but that was in the middle of the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The result of that economic meltdown, among other things, was that gasoline demand plummeted, from 9.8 million barrels per day in August 2019 to just 5.9 million barrels per day in April 2020 and 8.5 million barrels per day in August 2020. And for those of us who understand literally ANYTHING about economics know, a collapse in demand, with supply NOT collapsing, will result in…yep, prices falling sharply, which is exactly what happened.
- Fortunately, today, the economy has strongly rebounded, which means that gasoline demand also has largely rebounded, which in turn means that gasoline prices have largely rebounded – a totally normal, natural thing to occur, following the basic laws of supply and demand, as Glenn Youngkin presumably learned (and forgot?) in Macroeconomics 101? And if Glenn Youngkin does NOT understand economics, should he really be governor of Virginia?!?
- For some more perspective on gasoline prices, check out the US Energy Information’s series on nominal and – more importantly REAL (aka, “inflation-adjusted”) – gasoline prices going back to 1970. As you can see, real gasoline prices have reached as high as $5 per gallon (in June 2008, prior to the “Great Recession”), but have mostly stayed in the $2-$4/gallon range since 1970. And today? Yep, we’re right about in the middle of that range, with national, regular gasoline prices at about $3.18 per gallon. Pretty much normal, in other words, and not even particularly interesting, let alone “skyrocketing,” as Glenn Youngkin falsely – and hysterically – claims.
- Actually, you can go back with gasoline prices to 1918, when the inflation-adjusted price was $4.27 per gallon. Other high points include $3.66 per gallon in 1934 and 1938; $3.83 per gallon in 1981; $3.86 per gallon in 2008; and $3.99 per gallon in 2012. The average inflation-adjusted price of gasoline since 1918? About $2.86 per gallon, which puts the current U.S. national average price for gasoline at just a smidge above that…and definitely NOT “skyrocketing” in any way/shape/form, no matter what lying Glenn Youngkin says.
- Finally, it’s worth noting that the cost of gasoline makes up only about 19% of the overall cost of owning and operating a motor vehicle – and under 3% of Americans’ income. And the state gasoline TAX component? In Virginia, we’re talking 26.2 cents per gallon, less than 10% of the price of gasoline at the pump, and a tiny fraction of the overall cost of owning and operating your vehicle. So even if Glenn Youngkin were somehow to get elected governor (he’s not favored at the moment) and to “suspend the recent gas tax hike” (which probably wouldn’t happen, given that it would require General Assembly action), it would make just a tiny bit of difference in Virginians’ cost of living overall.
- In sum, Glenn Youngkin is being dishonest and demagogic, and nobody should listen to his blather – on this or any other subject.