News Flash: Gas Prices Up with Thanksgiving Driving
âJust in time for Thanksgiving, turkey prices are up five cents on the pound.â
Substitute the words âgasolineâ for âturkeyâ and âgallonâ for âpound,â and you get NBC and CNNâs morning show reports November 20. Neither network mentioned that gas prices were down almost 10 cents from last yearâs Thanksgiving or looked at how supply and demand factors were driving prices.
âGobble, gobble. Gas prices set to take a bigger bite out of your wallet just in time for that drive to Thanksgiving dinner,â teased anchor Matt Lauer in the opening credits to the âTodayâ show the Monday before Thanksgiving.
News desk anchor Ann Curry echoed Lauerâs line in her 7 a.m. news brief as she noted gasoline prices stood at $2.23, up âabout a nickel a gallonâ in the latest Lundberg survey, âjust in time for Thanksgiving.â Meanwhile, CNNâs Miles OâBrien presented gas prices as âbouncing back just in time for the drive to Thanksgiving dinnerâ on âAmerican Morning.â
At no point was the small jump in prices connected to rising demand for the holiday â what the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates will be a ârobustâ travel period this Thanksgiving.
In a November 15 news release, the AAA âestimates that 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.7 percent increase from last yearâs 37.3 million travelers.â Of that number, the vast majority, 31.7 million travelers, will go by car, âa 2.6 percent increaseâ over last yearâs number.
Whatâs more, the AAA noted, the $2.23-a-gallon gas average is âabout nine cents lower than this time last year.â
Journalists often omit supply and demand in gas price reporting, whether the price is going up or down. As the Business & Media Institute documented, OâBrienâs CNN colleague Jack Cafferty pushed conspiratorial views on the downward direction of gas prices before the November elections.
âYou know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,â Cafferty suggested in the August 30 âSituation Room.â Days later on the September 2 âIn the Money,â host Cafferty rehashed the theory to the bemusement of the programâs panelists.
âCertainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in controlâ of Congress, the veteran business reporter insisted.