President Obama has ruefully acknowledged that his own approval ratings rise and fall with the price at the pump. While he's enjoyed an uptick in his approval ratings recently, rising gas prices threaten to diminish the bounce he has received from an improving economy.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gas prices have risen 29 cents per gallon since December.
And, historically, U.S. gasoline prices are at their lowest in January and climb toward their highest in midsummer. This year started with the highest-ever January prices, and they’re only going to soar from there.
"As gasoline prices increase, people feel less and less confident about the economy," says Chris Christopher, a senior economist at IHS Global Insight, a research and analysis firm. An IHS study concludes that each time gasoline prices pass a dollar threshhold—from $3.99 to $4 or from $4.99 to $5—the consumer-confidence index drops 1.5 points.
For each 30-cent increase in gasoline prices above baseline projections, the firm found, President Obama will likely lose 1 percent of the vote.
Click through to read about and watch how Republicans are seizing on the rise in gas prices to criticize the president -- and how Obama is attempting to spin the issue to his advantage.
Coral Davenport contributed