Why Gas Prices Are Out of Any President’s Control

   < < Go Back


from The New York Times,

EVERYONE knows it’s dangerous to ingest gasoline or to inhale its fumes. But I am starting to believe that merely thinking about the price of gasoline can damage cognitive processing. Thus I may be risking some of my precious few remaining brain cells by writing about that topic.

Here is a one-item test to see whether you are guilty of cloudy thinking about gas prices: Do you believe that they are something a president can control? Many Americans believe that the answer is yes, but any respectable economist will tell you that the answer is no.

Consider a recent poll of a panel of economists conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where I teach. (Disclosure: I am a member of the panel; the other respondents are well-respected economists from top universities with varying political views.) The 41 panel members were asked whether they agreed with the following statement: “Changes in U.S. gasoline prices over the past 10 years have predominantly been due to market factors rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies.”

Not a single member of the panel disagreed with the statement.

More From The New York Times:

Why Gas Prices Are Out of Any President’s Control