June 2008 Gas Prices
On March 14 2022, Twitter user Qasim Rashid tweeted about purported oil and gas prices in June 2008, in contrast with their prices in March 2022:
Oil & Avg Gas $ June 2008:
Oil & Avg Gas $ Mar 2022:
If you're blaming anyone but greedy oil companies for their price gouging—you've bought into propaganda that hurts you more than anyone else.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) March 14, 2022
Gas Prices vs. Oil Prices in March 2022
Rashid claimed that in June 2008, oil was $181.58 a barrel and gas $4.10 a gallon in the United States on average. He added that oil prices averaged $99.76 a barrel in March 2022, with gas averaging $4.32 a gallon in the US.
A popular March 14 2022 Imgur screenshot made a similar point. It referenced a March 12 2022 tweet by user Sean Eggman with similar (but not identical) proportions, stating:
Its simple people: Look it up. Barrel of oil June 2008 was $126 and a gallon of gas was $4.11 per gallon. Now a barrel of oil is $106 while a gallon of gas is at $6.02 per gallon. Do you understand we are being robbed in front of our eyes?
On March 15 2022, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) tweeted along the same lines, claiming that the price of oil in 2022 was lower than in 2014 — but that a gallon of gas was more expensive than it was eight years prior:
Why is the price of oil LOWER today than it was in 2014 while the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide is 80 cents a gallon HIGHER than it was eight years ago? Answer: Corporate greed. Now is no time for profiteering. Now is the time for a windfall profits tax.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 15, 2022
Sanders tweeted about the issue again on March 16 2022:
Big oil companies are engaged in massive profiteering and price gouging. We need a windfall profits tax.
Gas: $3.23 per gallon
Oil: $104.54 per barrel
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 16, 2022
A Barrel of Oil and a Gallon of Gas, vs. Prices at the Pump
All three examples referenced above alluded to the relationship between a “barrel of oil” and a “gallon of gas.”
Finance site The Balance addressed aspects of the relationship between crude oil barrel pricing and retail gas prices by the gallon on March 16 2022, explaining:
Crude oil prices have determined at least half of the price of each gallon of gas over the last decade. As oil prices change daily, gas prices are constantly fluctuating, too.
The rest of the price of gas is based on refinery and distribution costs, corporate profits, and state and federal taxes.
In January 2022, around 56% of the total price of regular gasoline was the price of crude oil. Another 16% was distribution and marketing, 15% was federal and state taxes, and 14% was refining costs. In the first week of March 2022, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.10, up 49 cents from the week before and $1.30 in the past year.
Gas prices have soared to record highs due to high inflation as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia consistently ranks in the top three oil exporters in the world. In March 2022, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would ban imports of Russian oil, sending gas prices higher.
On March 9 2022, NBC News noted that oil “imports account for about 20 percent of the U.S. supply,” and reported:
President Joe Biden’s ban on Russian oil strikes at one of the largest oil exporters to the U.S., a move that could have wide impact even though imports account for a small portion of the overall U.S. oil supply.
Russian crude oil and petroleum product exports to the U.S. represent 8 percent of all its imported oil and less than 2 percent of the U.S. supply, an NBC News analysis of U.S. and European oil data found. This is a far cry from European nations: About half import most of their oil, and of that imported oil, an average of 20 percent comes from Russia.
June 2008 Oil and Gas Prices
Rashid’s tweet claimed that in June 2008, a barrel of oil averaged $181.58, while a gallon of gas averaged $4.10 a gallon.
Information about crude oil barrel pricing in June 2008 was easy to find, but didn’t seem to match the content of the tweet at first. A June 30 2008 CNN Money article, “Oil touches record but ends lower,” reported:
Retail gas prices and crude oil futures reached record highs Monday [June 30 2008] amid a backdrop of Mideast tensions and dollar concerns, but crude ended the day lower.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline climbed to $4.086, according to a daily survey by motorist group AAA. That was up 0.7 cent from $4.079 the previous day, and eclipsed the previous mark of $4.08 set June 16 .
Gas prices have risen 2.9% in the last month and are almost 38% higher than where they were a year ago [in 2007].
Meanwhile light, sweet crude for August  delivery settled down 21 cents at $140 a barrel after earlier setting a trading record of $143.67 a barrel, 50% above the price at the end of 2007.
Despite the pullback, oil prices remain[ed] consistently over $140 a barrel.
Later in that same article, CNN described variations in gas prices between states. California and Alaska averaged around $4.60 per gallon, while Missouri averaged $3.86 a gallon:
$4-a-gallon gas The AAA survey showed that 33 states and the District of Columbia have an average gas price above $4 a gallon [in June 2008].
Alaska has replaced California as the state with the highest gas prices. Drivers in Alaska pay an average of $4.623 for a gallon of gas. Californians pay $4.583 on average for a gallon, and Hawaiians pay $4.408.
The state with the lowest gas price is Missouri, where a gallon of gas averages $3.862.
Diesel prices slipped to $4.762 a gallon from $4.764 the day before.
A March 14 2022 KNSD article (“Why We Are Seeing Record High Gas Prices, Not Record High Oil Prices”) provided context about oil barrel prices in June 2008 vs. March 2022:
Gas prices have reached peaks never seen before, but that’s not the case for oil.
“Oil prices have increased over the last year from mainly $60 a barrel all the way up to about $93 prior to the Ukraine invasion. Then when the Ukraine invasion hit, they spiked to about $130 because of the risk of we didn’t know what this oil was going to get on the market they have subsequently come down to about $103 right now, as we’re speaking,” University of Southern California Professor Shon Hiatt said.
The recent spike in the price of oil is not a record high.
The record high was set in June 2008 when oil topped over $140 per barrel.
Although the 2022 high in crude oil prices never hit the record set in 2008, gas prices have surpassed what was seen in 2008.
In CNN Money’s June 30 2008 article and KNSD’s March 14 2022 article, record high prices for a barrel of oil in June 2008 were referenced. In both instances, the record high was listed as around $140 — not the very specific $181.58 cited in Rashid’s tweet, which we located on a chart showing historical gas prices adjusted for inflation from 1946 onward.
Using an inflation calculator, we input a record high of $140.21 (from a June 27 2008 CNN Money article). Adjusted for inflation, the June 2008 record high of $140.21 equaled $184.76 — slightly higher than the estimation listed, and not exaggerated:
Since the referenced oil price was adjusted for inflation, we used the $4.10 per gallon in 2008 to obtain a March 2022 equivalent. That $4.10 in June 2008 would be $5.40 in March 2022.
March 2022 Oil and Gas Prices
The same chart was prefaced with current information on March 18 2022 as follows:
Interactive charts of West Texas Intermediate (WTI or NYMEX) crude oil prices per barrel back to 1946. The price of oil shown is adjusted for inflation using the headline CPI and is shown by default on a logarithmic scale. The current month is updated on an hourly basis with today’s latest value. The current price of WTI crude oil as of March 17, 2022 is $102.71 per barrel.
Although the price was slightly higher than the $99.76 a barrel Rashid referenced, some time had also passed between the date of his tweet (March 14 2022) and the date of the most recent crude oil barrel pricing, and during a highly fluid and dynamic global situation.
A MarketWatch.com chart tracking real time oil barrel pricing demonstrated a range between $106.26 and $97.51 throughout the day on March 14 2022:
Rashid added that the average price of gas in March 2022 was $4.32 a gallon. A March 14 2022 AAA bulletin on then-current gas prices reported:
Today [March 14 2022]’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.33 ($4.325), up 26 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.86. The New York State average is 4.45, up 19 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.90.
On March 17 2022, PolitiFact examined several similar social media posts contrasting June 2008 oil and gas prices with March 2022 oil and gas prices — describing posts as “cherry picking” facts and figures, and referencing a lag between crude oil pricing and prices at the pump:
The March 14  Facebook post correctly cited the average price of a gallon of gas that day: $4.32.
But it cherry-picked its $99.76 figure for the price of crude oil. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is traditionally used as a U.S. benchmark when discussing and comparing oil prices. On March 14 , WTI crude oil hit a low of $99.76, but the closing price was $103.01.
Gas rose to $4.32 per gallon on March 14  as a result of oil prices being around $130 per barrel at times in the first half of March , [AAA spokesperson Devin] Gladden said.
The Facebook post was wrong about prices in June 2008. The monthly average price of a gallon of gasoline was $4.05, and the average price of WTI crude oil was $133.88 per barrel, less than what the post claimed.
“The data set in this posting is misleading because it gives people this impression that crude prices are more stationary than they are,” Gladden said. “In all actuality, they are highly volatile.”
Ultimately, PolitiFact concluded: “We rate these posts False.”
Rashid, Sanders, and others posted about crude oil and gas prices in June 2008 (when the former hit a record high) and in March 2022; several of the posts objected to “price gouging,” referencing high gas prices in March 2022. The latter portion of the tweets represented an opinion, which could not easily be fact-checked. Mathematically, Rashid’s tweet was reasonably accurate when adjusted for inflation. A barrel of crude oil hit a record hig price of just over $140 in June 2008, with gas prices hovering in the low $4 a gallon range. Crude oil prices to date in March 2022 fluctuated between a low of $95.04 and a high of $123.70 per barrel. Although we finally rated these claims Decontextualized, they are not without merit, mathematically or otherwise.