More Fuzzy Gas Math, This Time from the Boston Globe

On April 28 I noted what I argued was a case of fuzzy gas math on the part of a Washington Post reporter who uncritically relayed the gas price woes of a Raleigh, N.C., high school senior. Today blogger William Schaeffer, also a NewsBusters fan, pointed out a recent case of a suspicious gas budget claim, this time as reported in the Boston Globe. Schaeffer blogged about it here.

The May 6 Globe story, by reporter Jenn Abelson, kicked off with the lament of Dodge Ram owner Douglas Chrystall, who, Abelson noted, had just paid "$75 to fill his black Dodge Ram pickup truck for the third time in a week."

But after looking up the average gas price in Boston and the fuel economy of a Dodge Ram, Schaeffer crunched the numbers and estimated that Chrystall would have to be "driving around 961 miles a week" or nearly "50,000 miles a year."

"[B]asically the story from the Boston Globe is that consumers that drive over three times the yearly national average are facing a financial burden," Schaeffer concluded, adding sarcastically, "sounds like NEWS to me."

It is plausible that Chrystall only uses the highest available or premium grade of gasoline, but of course it would seem one would cut back if possible on premium gasoline with gas prices so high.

But even if Chrystall can only buy premium gasoline, if you assume $4-a-gallon for premium gasoline, by my calculations, Chrystall has got to be driving around 872 miles-a-week, or just shy of 45,340 miles-a-year. That's still well above the roughly 12,000 miles the average American vehicle is driven each year, and Schaeffer's point still applies.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters