The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 9.1% between June 2021 and June 2022, according to a Wednesday morning report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, exceeding the Dow Jones estimate of 8.8%. While Biden acknowledged that the inflation reading was “unacceptably high,” he deflected by asserting that the data are “also out-of-date.”
“Energy alone comprised nearly half of the monthly increase in inflation. Today’s data does not reflect the full impact of nearly 30 days of decreases in gas prices,” he said in a statement, noting that gas prices have fallen by $0.40 since June. “Those savings are providing important breathing room for American families.”
Indeed, gas prices fell to $4.63 per gallon as of Wednesday, according to AAA. Yet national average gas prices in early June surpassed $5.00 per gallon — a reality reflected in the most recent inflation report. Gas prices were $2.38 per gallon ahead of Biden’s inauguration and $3.53 ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Biden added that “other commodities like wheat” fell sharply since the June report, which showed the price of cereals and bakery products rising 13.8%. However, high fuel and fertilizer prices are levying heavy cost pressures on farmers across the world.
However, Biden assured the nation that “tackling inflation” is his “top priority.”
“Inflation is our most pressing economic challenge,” he continued. “It is hitting almost every country in the world. It is little comfort to Americans to know that inflation is also high in Europe, and higher in many countries there than in America. But it is a reminder that all major economies are battling this COVID-related challenge, made worse by Putin’s unconscionable aggression.”
While responding to the May inflation report last month, Biden likewise characterized inflationary pressures as “Putin’s Price Hike.” Biden also claimed that inflation is “worse everywhere” than in the United States — even though the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, South Korea, and Japan are all seeing lower rates of inflation, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Among other actions, Biden committed to bringing down the price of gas by continuing his “historic release of oil from our strategic petroleum reserve.” Though the policy of releasing one million barrels of oil per day was touted by the White House as an “unprecedented” move to “provide a historic amount of supply” to Americans facing high prices, a report from Reuters showed that at least five million barrels of oil were exported to European and Asian nations during the month of June — including to a Chinese firm with links to Hunter Biden.
Referring to declining oil prices, Biden also asserted that “oil and gas companies must not use this moment as an excuse for profiting by not passing along savings at the pump.” He has also called on gas stations — which earn margins as low as 1.4% on their fuel — to bring down their prices.
Biden vowed to “urge Congress to act, this month, on legislation to reduce the cost of everyday expenses that are hitting American families,” including prescription drugs, utility bills, and health insurance premiums. Many Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow Biden to control prices, such as by declaring an “energy emergency” to stop fuel companies from selling at prices deemed “unconscionably excessive.”