Experts deny that drilling brings down gas prices, despite how often Republicans claim to have the “silver bullet.” Now, the Associated Press reports that an analysis of 36 years of Energy Information Administration data shows “no statistical correlation” between domestic oil production and gas prices.
U.S. oil production is back to the same level it was in March 2003, when gas cost $2.10 per gallon when adjusted for inflation. But that’s not what prices are now.
That’s because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.
When you put the inflation-adjusted price of gas on the same chart as U.S. oil production since 1976, the numbers sometimes go in the same direction, sometimes in opposite directions. If drilling for more oil meant lower prices, the lines on the chart would consistently go in opposite directions. A basic statistical measure of correlation found no link between the two, and outside statistical experts confirmed those calculations.
Domestic oil production is at its highest level in eight years. According to the AP, if drilling dictated gas prices, they should already be at the $2 Republicans promise. However, gas prices fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including speculation and tensions in the Middle East.
These facts haven’t stopped Republicans from rallying around “drill, baby, drill.” President Barack Obama quipped last week on the GOP’s drilling fever: “I guess there’s some empty spots where we’re not drilling. We’re not at the National Mall. We’re not drilling at your house.”