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Does A Presidential Election Influence Gas Prices?
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on November 14, 2012 @ 11:49PM
Created on November 14, 2012 @ 7:27PM
Gas prices are a hot topic of debate these days, especially around election time.  Even though in our viewing area most prices at local gas stations are holding steady around $3.50, prices have fallen during election season. 
 
But, in one of this year's heated presidential debates, a man named Phillip asked a question about gas prices.
 
"I pointed out they've gone from roughly $1.86 a gallon when the President was elected to $4.00 a gallon.  Philip wanted to know why they've gone up so much," says former presidential candidate Mitt Romney in response to that question.

"Think about what the governor just said.  He said when I took office the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86.  Why is that," says President Barack Obama.
 
Why is the price at the pump, the price at the pump?  Why do you pay what you pay when you fill up?

"I'm pretty sure politics has a lot to do with it.  I don't know that for certain, but I do know that we pay a lot more here than some areas of the state," says Stacy Swiger of Lumberport.
 
We asked another person, "Do you think that a presidential election has anything to do with what you're paying at pump around election season?

"It's awfully funny that it lowers every time," says Scott Jones of Morgantown.
 
Nearly everyone we talked to said the price you see at the pump probably has something to do with politics.  It's a popular explanation for the high prices these days.  But, you might actually be surprised to know that the money you shell out for a tank of gas doesn't have as much to do with election season as you might think.

"One of the great political myths out there is that politicians can magically change the prices either up or down in order to help win in the election.  This actually cannot be further from the truth," says AAA Spokesperson Michael Green.
 
If politicians can't really influence the price per gallon, why are things up and down at the pump during election season?

"Gas prices drop this time of year pretty much every year no matter what is going on, whether there is an election or not an election," added Green.
 
He goes on to say, "Fewer people are driving as it gets into the colder months in comparison to the summer travel season.  So, as a result, demand drops.  Whenever demand drops, you're likely to see gas prices drop as well."
 
Make sure you join us for part two of this series next Wednesday, as we'll find out what else impacts the price you pay when you pump, and what we can expect to see in the future.

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