The news media think that because gas prices have fallen to an average of $3.43-a-gallon there is room to rejoice, even as the record streak of gas prices above $3-a-gallon continues. By Labor Day that record will stand at 1,349 days.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” praised the “nice surprise” of lower gas prices on Aug. 26, just in time for Labor Day weekend.
Host George Stephanopoulos said, “Everyone’s trying to squeeze some fun out of these last weeks of summer and when you fill up the car this Labor Day weekend you’ll get a nice surprise at the pump.”
Rebecca Jarvis continued, saying that forecasts say gas prices will be “at their lowest level in four years.” But on Labor Day 2010, the national average was far lower: $2.68-per-gallon, according to AAA data.
Still, Jarvis pointed out that per gallon prices are 16 cents cheaper than last Labor Day which will be a “nice relief” for the 29.7 million Americans traveling. However, that’s a savings of just $2.40 per fill up if the vehicle has a 15-gallon gas tank, barely enough for a bottle of soda or water at a gas station. Those same 15 gallons of gas will cost roughly $11.25 more this year than Labor Day 2010.
ABC’s glee over gas prices falling to around $3.40-a-gallon failed to remember that gas prices used to be far lower. Lower prices than that used to be called “eye-popping” by the broadcast networks.
When President Barack Obama took office, gas was at $1.84-a-gallon after a price collapse. They’ve since climbed and remained well above $3-a-gallon for more than three years.
High gas prices were one of the ways the networks talked down the strong Bush economy. In 2006, all three networks devoted coverage to the “skyrocketing” gas prices and also lashed out at oil companies asking, “Is Big Oil gouging you?” One California man filled up his pickup for $3.41-a-gallon and told NBC “They should start handing out knives to cut your arm and leg off.”
In 2005, NBC aired multiple “Pain at the Pump” segments complaining about gas prices above $2-a-gallon. On May 19, 2005, “Nightly News” actually blamed President George W. Bush for those high gas prices.
In fact, the broadcast networks linked Bush to rising oil prices 15 times more than they did Obama in similar time periods.
In early 2013, when gas prices were very high, around $3.70-a-gallon, ABC acknowledged that high gas prices hurt the economy and can reduce consumer spending.