Biden Takes Fire as Gas Prices Head Back Skyward
By Casey Harper (The Center Square)
Gas prices continue to rise this week in the U.S., hitting the highest level in months.
Now, the concerns and political ramifications for the Biden administration are starting to rise as well.
“Gas prices are rising,” said economist Stephen Moore. “Joe Biden is doing nothing except push a crazy green agenda that will make prices even higher. “If America went back to Trump’s energy policies, we’d be producing 2 million barrels more a day.”
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According to AAA, the average national price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.56, up from $3.49 a week ago and $3.41 a month ago.
Those energy price woes were exacerbated earlier this week when OPEC+ announced a significant cut in oil production, something likely to raise prices for American consumers.
“Saudis to cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day,” said Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas. “This will definitely impact our economy and gas prices. This is why it’s so important to become and remain energy independent.”
Americans are already paying much more for energy than when Biden took office. Gas prices hit record highs last summer, surpassing $5 per gallon nationally. Those prices afterward dipped, in part because Biden relied heavily on the Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves. Now, those reserves are at their lowest level since 1984, and Biden will have to use them more sparingly, if at all, to fend off future price increases.
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also disrupted global oil markets. The war was expected to end by now, but it has continued with no sign of peace in the immediate future.
Biden’s defenders have pushed back, pointing to oil companies’ profits despite higher prices hurting Americans.
“While you were paying through the nose at the gas pump, Big Oil companies were using the cover of inflation to jack up prices and line their pockets,” said Robert Reich, a Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor. “BP’s CEO recently boasted that in 2022 his company had its ‘lowest production cost in 16 years.’”
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Critics have hit the Biden administration’s role in rising energy prices, pointing to Biden’s discouragement of domestic oil and gas drilling and pipeline development. House Republicans recently passed the Lower Energy Costs Act, which would encourage domestic drilling to lower prices, but it is unlikely to get the Democratic support needed to succeed in the Senate.
“The Senate should pass H.R. 1 immediately and President Biden finally needs to put politics aside and unleash the power of American energy,” said Daniel Turner, who leads the energy workers advocacy group Power the Future. “Otherwise we are headed back to $4 dollar a gallon gasoline as the norm, among many other unpleasant factors.”
Some experts project the decision by OPEC+ could raise energy prices by 26 cents. Other experts say the decision by OPEC+ is a sign of the future.
“Given the transition the world is undergoing as it embraces ‘clean and green energy,’ OPEC+ understands all too well that its still highly valued ‘liquid gold’ will at some point begin to lose its shine,” said Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial. “Until then, as the countries dominating OPEC+ prepare for the future by spending trillions of dollars rebuilding infrastructure and refocusing away from crude oil as their primary source of income, managing the price of crude will be used more directly and aggressively than was anticipated.”
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Biden also recently took fire for lowering the nation’s oil reserves to what some consider dangerous levels. House Oversight Republicans said in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm this week making that very point.
“By gutting vital fuel storage to lower short-term prices, the Biden Administration exposed the U.S. to future market volatility and increased supply dependence on adversarial nations instead of supporting an all-of-the-above energy approach to unleash American energy potential,” the letter said.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.