Gas Prices In Election Years

The cost of a gallon of gas has been plummeting in the last few weeks. The following chart shows prices for the last 10 years.

I posted something about this on Facebook and Mom commented that gas prices always go down in election years. Well is that true?

Thanks to the wonderful interwebz, there are already a few studies that have done all the heavy lifting. It turns out that on average, prices fall around this time of year, but they fall more during election years. I recommend reading the full article from BusinessWeek, but here’s a key paragraph:

From 1991 to 2012, national gasoline prices fell by an average of 3.27 percent each year between the July 4th weekend (when demand tends to peak) and the first week of November. During presidential election years, prices fell by more than twice as much, 7.6 percent. Factoring in congressional election years (every even-numbered year), the average price decline is 5.35 percent. The smallest effect happens during odd-numbered years, when no candidates are running for the House of Representatives or Senate, though five states do hold gubernatorial elections. In those years, prices declined by only 0.6 percent.

Whatever the reason, I’m happily filling my tank for $2.89/gallon!