White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki falsely claimed on Monday that current gas prices under President Biden are at the same level now as they were in June of 2018.
In a Twitter exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Psaki wrote, “You forgot to mention that gas prices are the same now as they were in June 2018. Or that this time last year unemployment was 11.1% — today it’s 5.8%.”
But in reality, the average price of a gallon of gas at this point of June of 2018 was $2.83—today, it is $3.07. This means consumers in June of 2021 are paying 24 cents more per gallon than they did three years ago, making Psaki’s claim that “gas prices are the same” laughably false.
Psaki was obviously cherry-picking data by comparing current gas prices with those of 2018 rather than prices of June of 2019 – a better pre-pandemic baseline for comparison. Indeed, when one looks at the more appropriate comparison, the increase in gas prices is even starker. At this point in June of 2019, gas was selling for $2.65 a gallon, or $.42 less than today.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has conveniently compiled weekly gas prices going back to 1990.
Additionally, Psaki’s treatment of unemployment data is extremely misleading. While in this case her numbers are at least accurate, she fails to mention that summer of 2020 was middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. A better comparison would be to June of 2019, as the economy had yet to suffer any pandemic-related effects.
It appears that Psaki chose to obscure the comparison because it reflects poorly on the Biden administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in June of 2019 was 3.6 percent, whereas it is currently 5.8 percent, a full 2.2 percentage points higher.