Politics Fact check: Gas prices when Trump left office were much higher than he now claims
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Today is Monday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. Three snow leopards at a Nebraska zoo died of complications from COVID-19 this weekend - the latest such deaths among captive species in zoos around the world, The Washington Post reported.The snow leopards "were beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo," the Lincoln Children's Zoo said in a statement. Just a few thousand of these cats are estimated to remain in the wild.
Former President Donald Trump has been attacking President Joe Biden over this year's increase in gas prices -- and greatly exaggerating the size of that increase.
In a Fox News interview that aired on Sunday, Trump, "Look, when I left, gasoline was $1.87. That was a year ago. And now, it's I guess just hit $7.50 in California, the rest to follow..."
Inthat aired on Tuesday, Trump claimed the increase was even bigger: "Gas was at -- gasoline, $1.83 or $1.86 when I left, a gallon. And now it's at $7.70 in California, in different places in California, and it's heading that way everywhere."
Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden calls for gas prices investigation
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Facts First: Both of Trump's claims about gas prices at the time he left office were off by more than 50 cents per gallon. The national average for regular gas on his last day in office, January 20, was $2.393 per gallon, not $1.83, $1.86 or $1.87, according to data provided to CNN by the American Automobile Association. And while there is awhere gas prices have exceeded $7.50 this fall, it's misleading to cite any one station as the figure for "California," as Trump appeared to do on Sunday -- especially because this station has been as one of the most expensive in the country. The average gas price in California was $4.704 on Sunday and $4.705 on Tuesday, according to AAA data. That was the highest average for any state, but it was far from Trump's claims of $7.50 and $7.70.
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In the interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said that gas was selling for $1.87 both "when I left" and "a year ago." In context, the "a year ago" very much seemed to still be referring to prices at the time he left office, which was actually 10 months ago. But for the record, he would have been incorrect even if he was talking about prices a full year prior to the interview's air date. The national average gas price was $2.113 per gallon on November 21, 2020, according to AAA.
A big increase, but smaller than Trump claims
There's no doubt thatinternationally, nationally and in California in 2021. The increases have been driven by a complex array of , increases in the price of crude oil.
California gas prices have hit ain November, most recently on Monday. National gas prices -- an average of $3.403 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA -- are currently the highest since 2014 overall and the , AAA spokesperson Ellen Edmonds told CNN on Wednesday.
Fact check: Minority leader Kevin McCarthy made false claims in marathon House speech
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So drivers have felt real pain during the Biden era. Still, the starting prices Trump used for Biden's term -- $1.83, $1.86 and $1.87 -- were all at least 52 cents per gallon too low.
And it's obviously invalid to compare any previous national average price to the recent price at a single station, particularly anlike the coastal California station that received media and social media attention over its October prices of $7.599 per gallon for regular and $8.499 per gallon for premium. (The man who answered the phone at the station on Wednesday afternoon said the current price was $6.80 for regular.) , head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN on Wednesday that pricing at this station in the community of Gorda "likely is the highest in the country."
It's also worth noting that prices at the Gorda station at least sometimes exceeded $6.50 per gallon for regular under Trump. That happened in, according to a local news report at the time, and in June 2020 and October 2020, according to De Haan on Wednesday.
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What President Biden and many of his fellow Democrats don’t understand is that recognizing the real need for oil and gas doesn’t conflict with incorporating other sources of energy. I support an all-of-the above energy approach. My West Texas district produces more wind energy than the entire state of California. There's no reason why we can't walk and chew gum at the same time.In light of Democrats' attacks, I am proud to support the men and women who keep the lights on and America up and running.
A strategic release
Facing political pressure over the high gas prices around the country, the White Housethat the federal government would in a coordinated move with . The US release is its largest on record.
Bidenin a Tuesday speech that while "our combined actions will not solve the problem of high gas prices overnight, it will make a difference."
"It will take time, but, before long, you should see the price of gas drop where you fill up your tank. And in the longer term, we will reduce our reliance on oil as we shift to clean energy," Biden said.
It's not clear, however, how much the oil releases might actually lower gas prices at US pumps. CNN Business reporter Matt Egan explored the complexities of the situation in an analysis you can read.
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