President Joe Biden entered office with a promise to restore a robust national economy, but critics point out that his forecast has yet to materialize.
Among the concerns expressed by many consumers is the steep increase in gas prices, which some observers say are not likely to come down any time soon. As it turns out, Biden’s policies could be a direct contributing factor.
“Everyone wants to get out”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average gas price last week hit its highest level in seven years at an average of $3.02 per gallon, representing an increase of $1.14 over where it was the same time last year.
Some states, of course, are charging well above that national average. In California, for example, drivers can expect to pay more than $4 per gallon.
The EIA cited the American Automobile Association’s forecast that 37 million people planned to travel more than 50 miles during Memorial Day weekend, overwhelming by automobile.
Although the report acknowledged that the price increase was partly attributed to disruptions caused by the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, experts also point to increased demand after a prolonged period of COVID-19 lockdowns. Patrick De Haan, the lead petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, recently weighed in on the situation.
“Everyone wants to get out,” he declared. “If there’s any hiccup in the system this summer, it’s going to be hard to fuel up.”
“Because Americans have been stuck at home”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged the problem during a Fox News Channel appearance last month, suggesting that COVID-19 could be to blame.
Of course, Biden administration officials neglected to mention the president’s approach to energy policies as an exacerbating factor.
Instead of ramping up production, Biden has sought to effectively curtail it, including through his restrictions that limit drilling on public land as well as a cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
De Haan explained that the impact could be especially severe this year, noting: “Usually when prices go up 50 cents, people say they’ll just stay home, but not this year with the pent-up demand. If there’s any kinks in the system, it could get ugly.”
He went on to suggest that there could be “some blockbuster weekends that break records” in the near future “because Americans have been stuck at home.”