Even as consumer prices continued to climb across the board, the Biden administration touted the decreasing cost of gasoline as evidence that his economic policies were having some measurable positive impact.
Now that prices at the pump are trending upward again and the nation’s strategic oil reserve is at its lowest point in roughly four decades, it is becoming more difficult for the White House to make its tenuous argument that things are headed in the right direction.
The US Strategic Petroleum Reserve has moved down to 423 million barrels, its lowest level since 1984. The 29% decline this year is already the largest ever for a calendar year by a wide margin, and there's still 3 months to go. pic.twitter.com/fo0rKFQ49Z
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) September 28, 2022
Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on this point during a recent news conference.
“You said the president was responsible for gas prices coming down,” he said. “Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?”
Jean-Pierre claimed that “it’s a lot more nuanced than that,” citing “global challenges” such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that have made oil more expensive.
“And [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war has increased gas prices at the pump,” she said. “We have seen that over the past several months.”
She went on to the “historic steps” Biden has taken, asserting that his action has given American consumers “a little bit more of a breathing room” amid skyrocketing inflation. The explanation was clearly not sufficient for Doocy, who pointed out that a gallon of gas topping $6 in some areas of the country.
“Who can afford that?” he continued.
Jean-Pierre harped on the fact that Biden has worked “so hard the past several months to make sure he did everything we can to bring gas prices down” without directly addressing the fact that those prices are now creeping back up in communities nationwide.
Even after the price drops that she credited the president’s policies for stimulating, consumers are still paying roughly $1.50 more per gallon than they were when Biden came into office.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom tried to hold oil companies responsible for the recent rise in fuel prices, but industry insiders say the state’s strict energy standards are to blame.
Crude oil prices are down. Oil industry profits are up. Yet… gas prices in CA have increased by record amounts. It doesn’t add up.
We’re calling for a windfall tax so these profits go back to Californians paying for this oil company extortion. pic.twitter.com/FTAfXmOpAU
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 30, 2022
Patrick De Haan, a top analyst for tech firm GasBuddy, explained: “The problem with California right now is the fragmentation. It’s all alone when it comes to having these stringent requirements. So when things go well, there’s not an issue. But when things don’t go well, such is the situation now, they are all on their own.”