US Gas Prices Dropped in 2020 Because of Lower Demand Due to COVID-19, Not Trump's Policies

A gas prices meme for Casey

On June 23, 2024, X user @AFOTHEWAYTOGO posted a meme showing a photo of a Casey's General Store sign with the regular-grade gas price at $1.19 per gallon. The meme's caption referenced former U.S. President Donald Trump and the upcoming November 2024 election: "March 25, 2020. Remember This In November." The user created the post on X in response to another user's post, writing, "If Biden can do this, I'll vote for him."

A gas prices meme for Casey's General Store displayed the date March 25 from 2020 and an unleaded price of one dollar and 19 cents per gallon.
A gas prices meme for Casey's General Store displayed the date March 25 from 2020 and an unleaded price of one dollar and 19 cents per gallon.

Numerous other users previously posted the meme on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Truth Social and X. We were unable to track down the name of the meme's original creator.

A different meme also once featured the same picture with the displayed date of March 30, 2020, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. At the time, some voters were hoping for a "red wave" of Republican victories. However, that red wave never arrived.

It was unclear where the picture in the meme originated. The company on the sign, better known simply as Casey's, has many locations in numerous states. A road sign visible in the bottom-left corner of the photo appeared to read "U.S. 62" for Route 62.

2020 Gas Prices Drop 'Solely Due to COVID'

Though the photo's location remained unconfirmed, one thing about the meme was clear: The drop in gas prices in March and April of 2020 was due to a dramatic decrease in demand for fuel at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for the website

"The drop in March 2020 had everything to do with a massive drop in demand — nothing else," De Haan told Snopes in a March 2024 email. "Global demand plummeted as COVID spread, leaving countries to restrict movements and for companies to close offices to prevent deaths. Gas prices falling in early 2020 was solely due to COVID, not anything to do with a U.S. president."

De Haan also responded to @AFOTHEWAYTOGO's June 2024 meme repost. De Haan wrote, "Literally NO president can 'do this.' This was due to Covid lockdowns and a never-before-seen overnight plunge in gasoline demand that remained well below normal into 2022! No U.S. president has global control of the price of a commodity. That's supply and demand!"

Numerous news organizations and political blogs, including Fox News, MSNBC, Breitbart, CNN, The Daily Caller, CBS News, RedState, ABC News, The Daily Wire and HuffPost, have all cited as a credible source. In other words, has all the signs of being an established, trusted and nonpartisan source for data and analysis involving the world of fuel prices.

Prices Dropped Worldwide, Not Just in the US

In October 2020 — when Trump was still in office — the nonpartisan U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a detailed report about the impact the pandemic was having on gas prices. The analysis included the fact the drop in crude oil prices was a global matter and wasn't simply something that occurred only in the U.S.

The International Energy Agency also published much the same, reporting gas prices had dropped "to multi-decade lows across all major gas-consuming regions."

Average Gas Prices Under Trump and Biden

According to weekly data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average regular-grade gas price under Trump from January 2017 through January 2021 was around $2.47. The highest regular-grade average gas price under Trump was $2.96 in early May 2018. The lowest average price was $1.77 in late April 2020, when consumer demand for fuel was plummeting with many people staying home and not commuting at the beginning of the pandemic. At the time, prices varied from gas station to gas station, with some dropping just below $1, others going a good bit higher than the average and at least one Casey's landing right at $1.19, as the photo in the meme showed.

Meanwhile, the national average regular-grade gas price during President Joe Biden's administration through March 2024 has been $3.49. The highest average price under Biden was $5.01 in early June 2022. The lowest was $2.39 in his first week in office.

Why Did Gas Rise Above $5 Under Biden?

When regular-grade gas prices rose all the way to an average of $5.01 per gallon in June 2022, some critics blamed Biden.

For credible insight, we turned our attention to an article published by The Associated Press on June 7, 2022. The reporting specifically mentioned one reason for rising prices as being Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, after which Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and even warned the action would cause gas prices to rise. The AP's article also cited Joshua Busby, a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, who said presidents have "limited leverage over gas prices":

Prices have indeed surged since the beginning of the Biden administration, with the national average currently at $4.82, according to AAA. While critics have blamed the president, experts have pointed to several other reasons for the spike, including higher demand after the easing of pandemic restrictions and the steep price of oil as many buyers refuse to purchase Russian oil due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Joshua Busby, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote in an email to the AP that beyond releasing oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, U.S. presidents have "limited leverage over gas prices."

"Prices are set by the market," Busby wrote. "If there is a major increase in demand (demand resurgence as worst of pandemic ends) or supply disruption (Ukraine conflict fallout), it's not clear any US President would have many levers to alter that situation in the short run."

De Haan also told in June 2022, "I think the president gets wrongly blamed for most of the increase in gas prices. Much of why we're paying higher prices today has less to do with Biden and more to do with COVID, Russia and other issues." He added: "President Biden could be doing more. But again, he's really just a small piece of the puzzle."

For further reading, the story was also published on Yahoo Finance and features detailed insight regarding gas prices under Biden, as well as more analysis from Jay Hatfield, chief investment officer of Infrastructure Capital Management.


Camp, Kevin M., et al. "From the Barrel to the Pump: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Prices for Petroleum Products : Monthly Labor Review: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oct. 2020,

Daniel, Will. "4 Reasons High Gas Prices Aren't Joe Biden's Fault—and One Critical Way He's Adding to the Problem." Yahoo Finance via, 8 June 2022,

---. "What Is Joe Biden Doing about the Highest Gas Prices in U.S. History?" Fortune, 8 June 2022,

Egan, Matt. "Gas Prices Will Fall in 2024 and Americans Will Spend $32 Billion Less on Fuel, GasBuddy Predicts | CNN Business." CNN, 27 Dec. 2023,

"Gas Prices at a Six-Year Low.", 23 Jan. 2015,

"Gas Prices To Hit $4 Per Gallon In California In Next 2 Weeks, GasBuddy Predicts - CBS Sacramento." CBS News, 5 Apr. 2019,

GasBuddy - Cheapest Gas Station Finder App with Money Saving Benefits.

"GasBuddy App Points Customers to the Lowest Priced Gas in Area | Fox News Video." Fox News, 13 May 2021,

"Global Gas Review 2020 – Gas Market Report, Q2-2021 – Analysis." IEA, 2021,

Hanchett, Ian. "GasBuddy's De Haan: Refilling SPR After It Hit Lowest Level in 40 Years Is Pushing up Oil, Gas Prices." Breitbart, 1 Aug. 2023,

Hunnicutt, Trevor, and Steve Holland. "Biden Bans Russia Oil Imports to U.S., Warns U.S. Gasoline Prices Will Rise Further." Reuters, 8 Mar. 2022,

Jacobson, Louis. "Fact Check: Are Gas Prices Really $5 to $8 a Gallon, as Donald Trump Said?" Houston Chronicle via PolitiFact, 18 Dec. 2023,

Joshua W. Busby | LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Kaufman, Alexander C. "Gas Prices Are Likely To Go Up Again — And There's 1 Big Reason Why." HuffPost, 6 Sept. 2023,

Lynch, James. "Gas Prices Jump For Fifth Straight Week With No End In Sight." The Daily Caller, 30 Jan. 2023,

Phan, Karena. "Chart Misleads on Gas Prices under Obama and Trump." AP News, 7 June 2022,

Qiu, Linda. "Republicans Wrongly Blame Biden for Rising Gas Prices." The New York Times, 9 Mar. 2022,

Repair_Man_Jack. "Small Minds and Small Leaders Fear Low Oil Prices.", 2 Dec. 2014,

Saavedra, Ryan. "U.S. National Average Price Of Gasoline Hits New All-Time Record High, Report Says." The Daily Wire, 7 Mar. 2022,

Siders, David. "The Red Wave That Wasn't: 5 Takeaways from a Disappointing Night for the GOP.", 9 Nov. 2022,

"Weekly U.S. All Grades All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices (Dollars per Gallon)." U.S. Energy Information Administration, Accessed 26 Mar. 2024.

"Weekly U.S. Regular All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices (Dollars per Gallon)." U.S. Energy Information Administration,

Zahn, Max. "Gas Prices Hit $5 National Average after Rapid Rise." ABC News, 9 June 2022,