The decade's most triggering comedy
During the week of President Biden’s inauguration, the national average price of gasoline was $2.38 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and rose to $3.53 per gallon by the week when Russia invaded Ukraine. Prices surpassed $5.00 per gallon in early June before subsiding to $4.49 per gallon as of this week.
Not mentioning the fact that prices at the pump are now 89% higher than at the beginning of his term, Biden argued on Tuesday that his “actions are working” and “prices are coming down” — especially due to his steady release of strategic reserve oil, some of which found its way to a Chinese company with links to Hunter Biden.
I’ve been releasing about 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and rallied our global partners to release a combined 240 million barrels of oil onto the market.
Our actions are working, and prices are coming down. pic.twitter.com/5zrBPGvRJv
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 19, 2022
Jared Bernstein, a member of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, added on Monday that the administration’s policies have produced “a bit of breathing room in making ends meet” as the market observes “the fastest decline in retail gas prices in a decade.”
“At current prices, the average American driver will spend about $25 per month less on gasoline than they would have if prices had stayed at their June peak,” he said during a press briefing. “Economy wide, that means American drivers are saving around $190 million each day from lower gas prices. And since gasoline prices affect the prices of other goods and services through transportation costs — food is a good example — both households that drive and households that don’t yield some benefit from lower gasoline prices.”
One reporter pushed back against Bernstein, noting that “when they rose, it was Putin’s fault,” but “when they’re coming down, he gets the credit.”
“I very much disagree with that framing,” Bernstein responded. “I think what’s happening here is a president who is working tirelessly to address the largest constraint — probably the toughest constraint — facing American households right now: the budgetary impacts of these elevated prices. And we’re showing you here today some real results, partially — that partially derived from concrete efforts he’s taken.”
Indeed, the White House — which nixed expansions to the Keystone XL Pipeline last year and has been accused of dragging its feet on issuing oil and gas permits — has repeatedly asserted that “Putin’s Price Hike” is responsible for rising inflation in recent months.
“Putin’s Price Hike hit hard… high gas prices at the pump, energy, and food prices accounted for around half of the monthly price increases, and gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement last month. “Even as we continue our work to defend freedom in Ukraine, we must do more — and quickly — to get prices down here in the United States.”
Multiple White House officials — including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and President Biden himself — have argued that high gas prices will accelerate a transition to green energy.
“When we have electric cars powered by clean energy, we will never have to worry about gas prices again,” the White House said on social media. “And autocrats like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as weapons against other nations.”