Biden’s to Thank for Rising Gas Prices

Biden’s to Thank for Rising Gas Prices

March 15, 2021

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:

Prices at the gas pump are significantly higher than last November — threatening to hit $3 a gallon by summer — triggering debate over whether Joe Biden, less than two months into his presidency, bears the blame.

“Since President Biden took office, average gas prices are up more than 50 cents a gallon,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott noted in a written statement this week criticizing the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package approved by Democrats in Congress.

Only 544 drilling rigs are currently in operation in the United States and Canada compared to 996 a year ago. Critics say gasoline price hikes are a result of rising demand and stagnant supply. Also, pointing to market forces for prices rising, including the Texas deep freeze last month that shut down many refineries and temporarily reduced gasoline production.

But some Republicans point to executive orders that Biden issued during his first days in office as part of his goal, outlined during his campaign, to combat climate change by eliminating carbon emissions by 2050. They say that while those executive orders might not be immediately affecting oil and gas supplies, Biden’s policies as a whole could be influencing producers and traders to anticipate rising prices and take actions now that reinforce those expectations and keep prices climbing.

One of Biden’s orders, issued on Inauguration Day, halted construction of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL pipeline between Alberta, Canada, and Steele City, Nebraska. When complete, the pipeline was projected to move 830,000 barrels a day from the Canadian oil sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Another order barred new sales of oil and gas drilling leases on federally owned land, primarily in the western U.S.

On the FOX Business channel, former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister warned that a ban on new drilling and fracking leases on federal lands would “create a psychology in the industry of ‘there’s going to be less available’ and the psychology drives the pricing as well.”

The Institute for Energy Research in a blog outlining numerous economic pressures driving prices up concluded, “The Biden administration is getting what it wants — higher oil prices that will result in Americans being forced to transition to electric vehicles and get to a net zero [emissions] economy by 2050.” It added, “It does not appear to matter to the Biden administration that Americans will suffer and that low- income families will be affected the most.”