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Gasoline Prices Highlight Energy Security Concerns

Gasoline prices are hurting Americans across the board. Here’s what they attribute the price rise to and the reasons behind it.

Beholden to the far left, President Biden waved the green flag after his inauguration. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. His policies turned the country from energy independence to energy dependence over the past 16 months. We eschewed domestic production and imported oil from Russia, which built Putin’s war chest. Gasoline prices in the United States shot up 48% before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As the war broke out, the administration became desperate to make up for Russian oil and even reached out to Venezuela. Once our steadfast allies, the Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia and UAE, are no longer interested in taking President Biden’s phone call. Some even hoped oil to flow from Iran. But the Iran deal is delayed, and the media blames Trump’s poison pill and his foresight.

Faced with the November midterm elections and the fury of Americans, President Biden has begun to raise the white flag in his war on fossil fuels. On Friday, Biden announced the resumption of leasing for oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

Significance Of Gasoline Prices

Gasoline price is the #1 economic issue facing the country.  The recent IBD/TIPP Poll of 1,305 Americans asked respondents to select the country’s top three economic issues. A majority, 51%, picked “gasoline prices.”

Gasoline price was the #1 issue across all age groups, party affiliations, and income groups except $75K+, which picked inflation as the top issue.

The latest CPI report showed that prices increased 8.5% year over year, the highest since 1981. The energy category saw a 32% increase.  Within the energy category, gasoline increased by 48%.

Americans, on average, drive 14,263 miles per year, and the average fuel economy is 24.2 mpg. At the current prices, each driver will spend an extra $800 this year.

Gasoline Prices

Team Biden and its media friends often blame the current gasoline situation on the Russian invasion and attempt to hoodwink Americans. Here are the gasoline prices on critical dates for your ready reference.

  • $2.379 the week President Biden took office (1/20/2021)
  • $3.530 the week Russia invaded Ukraine (2/24/2022)
  • $4.091 the last week (4/11/2022)

Between President Biden's inauguration and Russia's invasion, prices increased by $1.151, or 48.4%.

Since the war began, the price has increased by another $0.555 or 15.7%.

The Blame Game

The IBD/TIPP Poll asked respondents how much blame they would assign for six things that have a bearing on gasoline prices. The share of respondents assigning a great deal or some blame tallied as follows:

  • 74% attributed the increase to the Russian-Ukraine situation
  • 74% pointed fingers at oil-producing countries
  • 72% blamed oil companies
  • 67% blamed supply-demand pressures
  • 62% said President Biden’s policies are responsible
  • 42% blamed President Trump’s policies

There were differences by party affiliation. Democrats and Independents blame oil companies, the Russia-Ukraine situation, and oil-producing countries. Republicans are likely to hold President Biden responsible.

The chart below presents Americans blaming the President for the current situation. While 84% of Republicans blamed President Biden’s policies, Democrats were kind to him, with only one-half pointing fingers at the President.  Three out of five (61%) Independents blamed the President.

Energy Independence

Americans believe the U.S. should pursue energy independence even if relying on domestic fossil fuels upsets climate change priorities.

Early this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll queried how Americans agree or disagree with the statement: The United States should pursue energy independence even if it means relying on domestic fossil fuels at the expense of climate change priorities.

The responses showed support for reliance on domestic fossil fuels:

  • 35% agreed strongly,
  • 29% agreed somewhat,
  • 14% disagreed somewhat,
  • 9% disagreed strongly, and
  • 12% were not sure.

Majorities across the board favor energy independence.  Supporters include:

  • 68% of Democrats,
  • 73% of Republicans,
  • 60% of Independents,
  • 83% of conservatives,
  • 61% of moderates, and
  • 59% of liberals.

Energy is a critical ingredient in any economy. The Biden administration must aggressively adopt energy-friendly policies. Such policies will be essential to tame inflation and avert deep stagflation. We know how difficult it was to come out of stagflation in the late seventies and early eighties. Having learned our lesson from that crisis, we must strive for greater energy autonomy.

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