Thursday, March 29, 2012

Higher gas prices lead to bigger hoaxes?

The following image made the rounds through email forwarding recently.
There is an awful lot wrong with this proposed boycott. Not even considering the basic fact that the boycott merely shifts demand around by roughly 24 hours, this particular boycott is just full of wrong.

Some facts are in order:

1. Throughout the month of April, 1997 the national average price for a gallon of gasoline varied from $1.25 to $1.26. If this famous protest did occur in April, 1997, it failed miserably.

2. Additionally, April 1997 gas prices were right in range for the entirety of 1997. For 1997, the lowest point for the average gas price was $1.19, occurring in December. The high point for the average gallon of gas was about $1.32 in September. Again, if this April protest is more than an urban legend it was a pretty dismal failure.

3. In paragraph three, the protest organizers want you to not use gasoline on April 15, 2011. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure my time machine doesn't get good gas mileage.

4. Incidentally, the average price of gas in April 2011 was about $3.78 just before the proposed 2011 protest. This is a recycled bit of urban legends (so, kudos I guess for "going green" with your urban legends).

5. For those scoring at home, gas prices in April 2011 went up the entire month (closing at around $4.01). The 2011 protest was about as effective as the 1997 one apparently.

I will post a photo of average gas prices from 1994 to present in a later blog post. It's pretty clear that the slight upward trend in gas prices from 1994-2000 turns into a hectic upward trend from 2000 on. Plan on gas prices rising as a trend going forwards. There will be some down-spikes, but those are lulls in the storm not a new trend in itself.

Fake movements like this really irritate the heck out of me. They don't help, they distort reality and by making people feel like they have done something, they actually prevent working on resolving genuine underlying problems.

(Source of rebuttal: U.S. Energy Information Administration,

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