Surprise: Trump lies about gas prices while in Iowa

Left: Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, in Coralville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Right: Kum & Go at 205 Second St. in Coralville, Iowa, at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14.

By Ty Rushing

December 14, 2023

While unleashing a tirade of lies alongside threats to his political enemies during a nearly 90-minute speech in Coralville on Wednesday, former president Donald Trump told a particularly notable whopper about American gas prices.

“Gasoline prices are now $5, $6, $7, and even 8 dollars a gallon,” Trump said. “By contrast, under the Trump leadership—my leadership—inflation was nonexistent and we had gasoline down to $1.87 a gallon. Doesn’t that sound beautiful?”

As of Thursday afternoon, less than a mile from where Trump delivered his speech at the Coralville Hyatt Regency, a gallon of regular unleaded was selling for $2.85 a gallon at the Kum & Go at 822 First Ave., according to GasBuddy.

Trump delivered his speech on Wednesday evening, so perhaps there was a dramatic overnight drop in prices? Starting Line called the store to check. According to the Kum & Go employee whom Starting Line spoke with, a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.84 on Wednesday.

Gas was even cheaper at the Costo Wholesale store about four miles away, where a gallon of unleaded cost $2.59 on Thursday afternoon, according to GasBuddy.

“It probably won’t get a whole lot better than the statewide average of $2.82,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, when Starting Line asked him about gas prices staying this low in Iowa throughout the winter.

As of Thursday afternoon, GasBuddy reports that the national average for a gallon of unleaded is $3.06, which is almost a quarter higher than the average price in Iowa.

If you’re a Trump supporter and you made it this far into the article (thank you), you’re probably fuming and going “WHAT ABOUT CALIFORNIA” since the Golden State typically has some of the highest gas prices in the country.

According to our friends at GasBuddy, the average gallon of unleaded in California is $4.62. AAA has it slightly higher, at $4.65 a gallon there. The state with the highest-priced gas is Hawaii, at $4.70 a gallon, according to AAA.

Furthermore, gas prices have fallen for three months straight, according to a report by De Haan. His report also noted that nearly 80,000 gas stations in the US had gas priced below $3 per gallon.

Starting Line asked De Haan why gas prices were so low and why they have continued to drop.

“Short answer is seasonally, we tend to see a decline in the fall almost every year,” De Haan said. “Americans simply drive less the colder it gets, so there’s less recreational use of gasoline, things like going to the lake in the summer, running the boat, and things like that.”

De Haan also noted the country’s continued recovery from the economic hardships caused by the pandemic also played a role in lowering gas costs.

“Post-pandemic, there were a lot of imbalances. As you may remember, last year and the year prior, Americans really shifted their consumer behavior,” he said. “We went from basically being locked down to everyone getting outside all the time when all the mask mandates were rescinded.

“The sudden shift caused a huge imbalance on the price of gasoline, causing it to soar, but as we continue to kind of slowly normalize, gas prices are normalizing too.”

Trump also lied about historic gas prices during his Coralville speech. He said that gas was $1.87 when he was president. On his last day in office—Jan. 20, 2021—the national average for regular gas was $2.39, according to CNN.

When Trump took office in January 2017, the average price for a gallon was $2.34, according to US Energy Information Administration data. That federal data also notes that the only time the national average fell below $2 a gallon during the Trump presidency was in April and May of 2020, which was right in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.



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