This is the best news article I’ve seen in a while:
It’s the political cure-all for high gas prices: Drill here, drill now. But more U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show.
A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.
Emphasis added. It’s a great example of quantitative journalism. They took the simple and oft-repeated statement that increased US oil production reduces domestic gas prices (known colloquially as “drill baby drill”), and they subjected it to a few simple statistical tests for correlation and causality. The result is that there is no correlation, or at least not one that is statistically significant. They tested for causality using the notion of Granger causality, and they found that if anything, higher prices Granger-causes more drilling, not the other way around!
And here’s the very best part of this article. They published the data and the analysis so that you can check the numbers yourself or reach your own conclusion. From the data, here is a scatter plot between relative change in price per gallon (inflation adjusted) and the relative change in production:
What’s more, they asked several independent experts, namely three statistics professors and a statistician at an energy consulting firm, and they all backed and corroborated the analysis.
Kudos to Jack Gillum and Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press for this wonderful article. I hope we can see more examples of quantitative journalism like this in the future, especially with open data.