Monday, July 18, 2011

Statistics are Misleading At Best, Filthy Liars at Second Best

Back in April, I somehow came across this site blaming President Obama for raging gas prices:

obamagasprices

The implication is that since the moment Obama took office, gas prices have gone crazy. My god!

Wait wait wait…why the steep decline at the end of 2008? Let’s uncrop a bit (I downloaded some public data from an energy gov site, dropped it into Excel, and annotated it with SnagIt):

fuel prices

That’s a pretty different picture, isn’t it?

I’m not posting this to indict or vindicate anyone. I’m not even going to guess at explanations for the dramatic changes in that chart. I only post this to encourage people to be skeptical of charts, and to be especially suspicious of sensationalism.

Oh, and if you hate paying $3-4 dollars/gallon in the United States…it could be worse.