Fox News host Bill Hemmer highlighted a recent increase in gasoline prices to raise concerns about its "drag on the economy," then claimed that gas prices "rarely" decrease. But the very chart Hemmer used during the segment debunks his own claim -- and Hemmer has previously fearmongered over the economic impact of low gas prices as well.
During the February 14 edition of America's Newsroom, Hemmer followed Fox Business host Stuart Varney's assertion that gas is at "the highest price ever for a gallon of regular gas in the month of February" by pointing to a chart comparing gas prices in early 2012 with those in 2013:
Hemmer said that gas is currently "up 11 or 12 cents over the average where we were a year ago," then repeatedly emphasized the "drag" rising gas prices could have on the economy before concluding, "When these prices go up, rarely do they go back down."
But Hemmer's own chart debunks this claim. As Hemmer noted, average gas prices in January 2013 were "10, maybe even 15 cents" lower than those in January 2012.
Indeed, gas prices regularly fluctuate, as this chart of prices over the past year shows:
Various factors influence seasonal oil price fluctuations. The price of crude oil has recently increased due to the global increase in demand, and experts have noted that gas prices routinely increase at this time of year as refineries slow production to transition to summer-blend gasoline.
And although Hemmer's co-host Martha MacCallum said, "When you start to pay more for gas at this time of year, you start to wonder what it's going to be come May and June," AAA recently predicted that the national average price of gas "is likely to peak this spring at a lower price than in 2011 ... and 2012," due to fewer conflicts in oil-producing regions.
Hemmer's current concerns over the impact of high gas prices are particularly interesting given that last May, Hemmer worried that low gas prices "could be a sign of a looming global economic crisis." Fox News has a history of using gas prices both high and low to attack President Obama -- even though experts agree that presidents can't control the price of gas.