by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Last July the Biden administration instructed Americans to “relish” a supposed savings of 16 cents on a “4th of July BBQ.” Pres. Joe Biden then assured the nation that price increases were “temporary.” Nevertheless, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index showed, inflation increased by 8.5 percent between July 2021 and July 2022.
My new Daily Caller article with James Carter of the Center for American Prosperity at the America First Policy Institute, “Biden’s Gimmick Solutions Only Make The Energy Crisis Worse,” focuses on an even much bigger number in the report:
Gasoline prices are up a whopping 44.0 percent. Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise to Americans suffering at the pump.
Americans suddenly making sacrifices just to fill up a tank are looking for our domestic energy production to do more to help. They understand that outside factors, including Russian hostilities in Ukraine and refinery bottlenecks, continue to create upward pressure on oil prices, even if recessionary fears act in the opposite direction. What they do not get is why the Biden administration seems to take every opportunity to keep American oil and gas sidelined.
The article reminds people of the history of the fracking revolution leading to American production dethroning OPEC and Russian production and helping beleaguered Americans the last time gasoline prices surged. As the article points out, the effect of the shale revolution was energy savings worth an estimated $2,500 for a family of four.
Nevertheless, after telling campaign audiences he would stop pipelines and fracking and that oil and gas executives should be put “in jail,” President Biden canceled Keystone XL pipeline permitting and the planned oil and gas leasing in Alaska on his very first day in office. He then ordered the suspension of new oil and gas permits on federal land and waterways and a review of existing permits.
The moratorium was eventually blocked by a federal judge, so the Biden administration chose to dig in its heels. This May, the Biden administration canceled more offshore oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. In June, they delayed the announcement of a new federal plan for offshore oil and gas development leasing only to release a plan that limits federal leasing and allows for the option of no leasing at all.
President Biden seems to think the hardships Americans face from historically high energy prices can be solved by gimmicks: nonemergency releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, suspending the federal gasoline excise tax, or calling inflation “Putin’s price hike.” Meanwhile, he has demanded answers from oil companies for high gasoline prices and spoken of taking emergency executive actions.
In their response, the oil companies basically asked that they be allowed to compete:
Among other things, ExxonMobil, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute urged lowering regulatory costs, streamlining pipeline approvals and other infrastructure development, waiving provisions of the Jones Act, not playing favorites with energy technologies and clearly and consistently favoring domestic resource development.
It would be in Americans’ best interest for Biden to heed their advice.