I’m seeing a lot of social media posts blaming the current administration for the recent rise in the price of oil. These posts invariably garner a lot of Republican likes and Democrat rebuttals. Arrogance and snark follow, usually devolving into name-calling. What bothers me is that most of the participants speak fluent not-checking-my-facts-before-opening-my-piehole. Inaccuracies abound and I’m going to clear some of them up.
I’m a data guy, so let’s look at some real numbers.
From a wide perspective, oil was in a bull market until it peaked in 2008 over $133 per barrel and it has largely been in a bear market ever since. Even discounting the 2008 peak as an outlier the oil bear market started in late 2014. That hardly supports the narrative they are trying to paint on social media. You can’t blame any of the past three presidents for oil prices going up, because in the big picture, they are going down.
What if we focus just on the oil prices since Biden was sworn in?
Yes, the price of oil was up 34% from February to August, but the peak is essentially the same as 2018 under Trump. Pointing out that oil prices under Biden have just squeaked past the peak under Trump is not a particularly compelling argument.
Perhaps if we compare Biden to Trump directly? Yeah, no. That’s much worse.
Oil went up 89% during Trump’s tenure. It would have to hit $96 per barrel just to match Trump’s record. As you can see, Biden’s still got quite a way to go.
If you aren’t going to blame Trump for oil prices going up on his watch, it’s mighty hypocritical to blame Biden for a smaller increase in oil prices now. It may be better to just admit that presidents really don’t have much influence on oil prices after all.