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‘Never forget January 6th’ memes use old photos of gas prices

Political memes seeking to reframe Jan. 6, 2021, in a positive light are using old photos of gas prices from 2015 and 2016 out of context. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A Facebook post that reads, “Oh yeah, January 6th, 2021…when Americans could still afford to get to work. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says, “PHOTO OF GAS PRICES IN 2015.”
The photo of gas prices in this meme was not taken in January 2021.
It was posted to the photo sharing website flickr on January 22, 2015.
Gas prices were significantly lower (approximately $2.25 to $2.32 a gallon on average) in January 2021.
Prices in the spring and summer of 2022 have been unusually high due to a variety of factors.
At least one other meme featuring photos of low gas prices out of context has also circulated during the House select committee hearings into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

NewsLit takeaway

Posts about high gas prices can spark quick, emotional responses and serve as an easy catalyst for partisan rancor — often directed at a sitting president. But as previous posts on this blog have pointed out, “presidents don’t actually have much effect on the prices.” In this case, gas prices were used to present a counter-narrative about the state of the nation on Jan. 6, 2021, while the House select committee hearing on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol brought renewed focus on the attack. Fact-checkers have documented two variations of this “never forget” meme, both of which use out-of-context photos of gas prices taken during former President Barack Obama’s second term.

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