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Politics White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season

13:25  25 november  2021
13:25  25 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Fact check: Gas prices when Trump left office were much higher than he now claims

  Fact check: Gas prices when Trump left office were much higher than he now claims 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. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images A customer pumps gas into his vehicle at a Shell station on November 22, 2021 in Miami, Florida. In a Fox News interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said, "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..." In another Fox News interview that aired on Tuesday, Trump claimed the increase was even bigger: "Gas was at -- gasoline, $1.

The White House is pulling out various stops in an effort to get gas prices under control at the start of what is expected to be a busy holiday travel season.

White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season © Associated Press/Evan Vucci White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season

The administration is tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve and President Biden has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil companies are responsible for increased prices.

But the focus on gas prices has provided fuel for Republican attacks on Biden's handling of the economy, and his energy policies in particular, at a time when the White House is hoping to rally support for ambitious climate goals in its roughly $2 trillion spending plan.

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  Biden sets out oil, gas leasing reform, stops short of ban WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday recommended an overhaul of the nation's oil and gas leasing program to limit areas available areas for energy development and raise costs for oil and gas companies to drill on public land and water. The long-awaited report by the Interior Department stops short of recommending an end to oil and gas leasing on public lands, as many environmental groups have urged. But officials said the report would lead to a more responsible leasing process that provides a better return to U.S. taxpayers. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - A flare burns natural gas at an oil well Aug. 26, 2021, in Watford City, N.D.

AAA predicted this month that 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 13 percent increase from 2020 when many Americans opted not to travel with coronavirus cases and deaths surging around the country.

The busy travel season to come has put a spotlight on gas prices in particular amid broader concerns about inflation, something the White House has attempted to show it has under control.

"Obviously, the president does not control the price of gasoline -- no president does," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters on Tuesday. "But what we're seeing right now is this global mismatch between supply and demand. Oil production is lagging behind as the rest of the economy roars back to life after the shutdown."

Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden calls for gas prices investigation

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"So, we, in this administration, are leaving no stone unturned as we examine the market to figure out what's behind the high prices," she said.

The White House has shown more urgency in recent weeks in publicly messaging how it is trying to provide relief for Americans grappling with inflation, particularly after the Labor Department released statistics showing consumer prices grew far faster than expected in October and that annual inflation had hit a 30-year high. That rise was in part a result of rising energy costs, and increased costs at the gas pump.

Biden last week wrote to the Federal Trade Commission requesting the agency look into whether oil companies were unfairly spiking prices at the pump.

And on Tuesday, the administration announced it would release 50 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in coordination with several other countries in an effort to match supply with demand.

Gas prices hit record high in California

  Gas prices hit record high in California Gas prices in California reached an all-time high on Monday as the average cost of a regular gallon hit $4.68. The prices of gas rose in several California counties. In Los Angeles County, the average price was $4.67, nearing a record set nine years ago, while Orange County prices spiked to an average of $4.64, according to The Los Angeles Times. Doug Shupe, spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) of Southern California, attributed the price hikes to higher crude oil costs and an increased demand for fuel, the Times reported.

Experts have questioned whether either move will do much to meaningfully bring down prices immediately, and they cautioned other factors, like the course of the pandemic, are more likely to affect the trajectory in the months to come.

That has led some conservatives to question whether the White House's actions on gas prices were more of a political maneuver as poll after poll has shown voters souring on Biden, particularly over his handling of the economy, with his approval ratings dropping into the low 40s.

"This is being done in order to use every tool at the president's disposal to lower the price of gas for the American people," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday when asked if tapping into the strategic reserve was being done for political purposes.

Republicans have gone on offense over inflation for the last few weeks, and the Biden administration's decision to release oil from the strategic reserve provided more fodder for attacks on its energy policies.

Former President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers argued the Biden administration's desire to shift away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy industries has led to problems at the pump.

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"Today's announcement is nothing more than a gesture. If the president and his administration wanted to make a real, long-term impact, they would work to maximize domestic production and expedite energy infrastructure like pipelines-not close federal lands to drilling and add a federal tax to methane," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, accused Democrats of "waging a war on American energy.

Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has opposed some climate initiatives in Biden's Build Back Better agenda, called the release of oil from the reserves an "important policy Band-Aid for rising gas prices" while criticizing the administration's energy policy as "shortsighted."

Biden in remarks Tuesday sought to assure the public that the U.S. economy was on the upswing and a rise in prices would not be a long-term concern.

"I also want to briefly address one myth about inflated gas prices: They are not due to environmental measures. My effort to combat climate change is not raising the price of gas or increasing its availability," Biden said in prepared remarks, arguing investments in electric vehicles, solar panels and other sectors would spur job creation and innovation.

"Let's beat climate change with more extensive innovation and opportunities," he added. "We can make our economy and consumers less vulnerable to these sorts of price spikes when we do that."

How your Thanksgiving turkey became a proxy in the latest political war .
Food prices are up. Republicans are on the attack. And the White House is scrambling to push back ahead of Thanksgiving.The president's own USDA says all Thanksgiving staples are up a combined 5 percent this year. Lawmakers are deploying even higher estimates to strike at the heart of Democrats’ agenda — a push to funnel trillions of dollars more into a hot economy.

usr: 1
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