Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why you can't trust the media, I

It's because of the math, pure and simple. In a story today reporting on the President's tour of a California factory developing hydrogen-powered vehicles, the article mentioned the rise in price of a gallon of gasoline since last year:
US retail pump prices were topping an average three dollars a gallon (3.8 liters) in many places in the country, up 60 cents -- 33 percent -- from a year ago.

I look with a jaundiced eye at just about any calculated number I see in a news story these days. Lets see if this statement is bona fide or not.

Start with a price of $3 a gallon, the current average price. A year ago the average price was $2.40 (as Rush Limbaugh says, that's $3.00 minus 60 cents, for those of you in Rio Linda). The kicker is the percentage: the amount of increase (60 cents) is, reportedly, 33 percent of the price a year ago.

33% of $2.40 is 80 cents; 60 cents is 25% of $2.40.

Granted, a 25% increase in price is still felt deeply in one's wallet. But lets not lose sight of accuracy in determining just how much pain there is.

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