On Pump Points for Politicians: 'Gapitem' by Presidency, Congress

| About: The United (UGA)

Politicians are always telling us about gas prices.

So I thought maybe gas prices would like to tell us something about politicians for a change.

These “pump points” are based on gapitem data. I’ll explain gapitem in greater detail in a later post. For now, just know that it’s a unit of fuel consumption equal to gas consumption per person per day.

Gapitem = Gas per capita per diem

As the following scores use gapitem, a decrease in per capita gasoline consumption is just as effective in scoring highly as a decrease in the price per gallon of gasoline. The converse is also true – higher consumption, even at the same price per gallon, would result in a lower score.

Tree-hugging environmentalists will love this; laissez-faire capitalists not so much. The latter have a legitimate beef in that people may increase gas consumption for reasons other than necessity – and therefore gas consumption is not entirely non-discretionary. In that sense, higher gas consumption isn’t quite as ubiquitously onerous a burden as say increased tax revenues – but, it’s awfully close.

All scores are from 0.0 to 10.0 with 10.0 being the highest recorded score in that category.

Remember, these scores reflect increases in real per capita GDP after paying at the pump.


1. Bill Clinton (10.0)
2. Ronald Reagan (8.6)
3. Jimmy Carter (5.9)
4. George W. Bush (4.2)
5. Gerald Ford (2.7)
6. George H.W. Bush (2.0)


1. ’94 Republican Majority (10.0)
2. ’54 Democratic Majority (8.9)
3. ’06 Democratic Majority (0.0)

Party Presidents

1. Democratic Presidents (10.0)
2. Republican Presidents (6.2)

Party Congresses

1. Republican Congresses (10.0)
2. Democratic Congresses (8.2)


1. Anti-Administration Majorities (10.0)
2. Pro-Administration Majorities (8.8)


1. Second-Terms (10.0)
2. First-Terms (4.5)

Real per capita GDP after paying at the pump tends to grow faster when the Congress opposes the President.

In other words, agreement in Washington tends to encourage stagnation in America.


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