In July 2000, the city average retail price across the United States for unleaded regular gasoline was US$1.59 per gallon.
Around that time, George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas and the presumptive Republican candidate for that year’s presidential election. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the New York Times:
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.
Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.
Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: ”The fundamental question is, ‘Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?’ ”
(You should read the rest of the article, as it’s quite funny/sad in retrospect.)
What’s the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in America today? $3.80.
I felt that pain a couple of weekends ago in Boston. The Ginger Ninja and I had all sorts of commitments that required us to travel all over Massachusetts, so we rented an intermediate-sized car. When we arrived, all cars in that size class were taken, so the rental company gave us a Ford Explorer (the 2008 model is pictured above) at the same rate. As per standard procedure, we filled the gas tank before returning it; being a gas-guzzling beast, it cost a whopping US$75…for a weekend’s worth of driving. That’s my typical gasoline spending over 6 to 8 weeks!
It doesn’t look as though Dubya’s “sheer force of personality” is going to help lower gas prices, judging by this recent Associated Press story:
Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.
It was Bush’s second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, head of the monarchy that rules this desert kingdom that is a longtime prime U.S. ally and home to the world’s largest oil reserves. But Saudi officials stuck to their position that they will only pump more oil into the system when asked to by buyers, something they say is not happening now, the president’s national security adviser told reporters.
I’ll close this article with a comic about personal appeals to King Abdullah (and a subtle Obama reference, to boot):
[Thanks to BrianKaneOnline.]