On Sunday, Politifact Florida said that Texas Congressman and GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul grossly overstated gas prices in Florida during the recent debate in Arizona.
While making his argument about U.S. intervention, he started talking about gas prices.
“You know, I’ve tried the moral argument. I’ve tried the constitutional argument on these issues. And they don’t go so well. But there’s an economic argument, as well,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, al-Qaida has had a plan to bog us down in the Middle East and bankrupt this country. That’s exactly what they’re doing. We’ve spent $4 trillion of debt in the last 10 years being bogged down in the Middle East. The neoconservatives who now want us to be in Syria, want us to go to Iran, have another war, and we don’t have the money — today gasoline hit $6 a gallon in Florida — and we don’t have the money,” he said.
But have gas prices really hit $6 per gallon in Florida?
Politifact said they emailed the campaign to find out their source, but no one responded.
Angie Drobnic Holan wrote:
The Drudge Report, for example, featured the headline “$6 gas” just a few hours before the debate’s start. The Drudge Report’s link sent readers to a CBS Radio report from Tampa that a couple of gas stations in Florida are charging close to $6 a gallon.
The report’s source was GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks prices by gas station so consumers can find the cheapest prices and avoid the highest. Sure enough, when we checked GasBuddy the morning after the debate, we found one gas station that was charging $5.79 a gallon and another that was charging $5.69.
Last Wednesday, CBS Tampa reported that one area station was charging $5.89 per gallon for regular gas, but one or two stations do not make a statewide trend.
“Every other gas station in the state charged much less, with the next highest at $4.35,” Politifact noted, while adding that the two stations “are suspiciously close to the beating heart of Florida tourism — the international airport that brings visitors to Walt Disney World.”
“Florida residents know better than to get gas there. It’s entirely to clip the tourists,” GasBuddy analyst Gregg Laskoski told Politifact. Citing those two stations, he said, “totally exaggerates the gas prices situation here in Florida.”
“Every year, these stories about a couple of gas stations in the Orlando area pop up, to represent extreme gas stations,” he added. “This is not a new story; it’s an old story with a new price.”
But it was enough for Ron Paul to make his claim during the debate.
Gas prices in Florida, like much of the country, are reaching historic highs and are expected to hit $4 per gallon by spring on average, but the state as a whole is not paying $6 per gallon. As of now, Politifact says, the statewide average is $3.70 per gallon.
The fact checker noted:
As for Paul, we suspect he read headlines that gave the wrong impression on Florida gas prices. In fact, we found only two of approximately 7,100 gas stations that even come close to the price he cites.
We wouldn’t bring a flaming Truth-O-Meter to a filling station, but that’s what this one deserves. Pants on Fire!
More on Ron Paul at modenook.com can be found here.
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