Gasoline Prices Now… and Standard Errors

Reader rsm is perpetually concerned about the precision of economic data, most recently here in re: gasoline prices. Below is the price of regular gasoline, plus/minus 1.96 standard errors.

Figure 1: Price of regular gasoline, $/gallon (black line), +/- 1.96 standard error band (blue gray lines). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: DOE EIA (accessed 12/17/2021), NBER, and author’s

In my view, reporting of standard error bands does not change one’s views regarding the course of gasoline prices.

Note that the webpage for these data comes up in a google search first time around when one puts in search words “gasoline” “standard error” “energy information”…