Politics

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

The White House is pulling out numerous stops in an effort to get gas prices beneath management initially of what is predicted to be a busy vacation travel season.

The administration is tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve and President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care — Feds, army high 90 p.c vaccine charge Cities prep safety plans for big vacation crowds On The Money — Biden’s massive plans for the Fed MORE has referred to as on the Federal Trade Commission to examine whether or not oil firms are accountable for elevated prices.

But the deal with gas prices has offered gasoline for Republican assaults on Biden’s dealing with of the economic system, and his power insurance policies in specific, at a time when the White House is hoping to rally assist for formidable local weather objectives in its roughly $2 trillion spending plan.

AAA predicted this month that 53.4 million individuals will travel for the Thanksgiving vacation, a 13 p.c enhance from 2020 when many Americans opted not to travel with coronavirus instances and deaths surging across the nation.

The busy travel season to come has put a highlight on gas prices in specific amid broader considerations about inflation, one thing the White House has tried to present it has beneath management.

“Obviously, the president does not control the price of gasoline — no president does,” Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmButtigieg has excessive identify recognition, favorability score in Biden Cabinet: survey Energy chief describes oil reserve launch as ‘bridge’ earlier than prices fall Will Biden’s launch of oil reserves ease prices? Experts say it is unlikely MORE informed 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.”

“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 mentioned.

The White House has proven extra urgency in current weeks in publicly messaging how it’s making an attempt to present reduction for Americans grappling with inflation, notably after the Labor Department launched statistics displaying shopper prices grew far sooner than anticipated in October and that annual inflation had hit a 30-year excessive. That rise was in half a outcome of rising power prices, and elevated prices on the gas pump.

Biden final week wrote to the Federal Trade Commission requesting the company look into whether or not oil firms had been unfairly spiking prices on the pump.

And on Tuesday, the administration introduced it will launch 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in coordination with a number of different international locations in an effort to match provide with demand.

Experts have questioned whether or not both transfer will do a lot to meaningfully carry down prices instantly, they usually cautioned different components, just like the course of the pandemic, are extra seemingly to have an effect on the trajectory in the months to come.

That has led some conservatives to query whether or not the White House’s actions on gas prices had been extra of a political maneuver as ballot after ballot has proven voters souring on Biden, notably over his dealing with of the economic system, together with his approval scores 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 PsakiJen PsakiBiden: Guilty verdicts in Arbery case ‘not sufficient’ Buttigieg has excessive identify recognition, favorability score in Biden Cabinet: survey Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden to launch 50M barrels from oil reserve MORE mentioned Tuesday when requested if tapping into the strategic reserve was being accomplished for political functions.

Republicans have gone on offense over inflation for the previous few weeks, and the Biden administration’s determination to launch oil from the strategic reserve offered extra fodder for assaults on its power insurance policies.

Former President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump Organization exec not anticipating to face fees, lawyer says Marjorie Taylor Greene introduces invoice to award Congressional Gold Medal to Rittenhouse Drones are a strategic legal responsibility for US MORE and GOP lawmakers argued the Biden administration’s want to shift away from fossil fuels and towards clear power industries has led to issues on the pump.

“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 CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBipartisan success in the Senate indicators room for extra compromise Biden administration takes step towards reversing Trump water rules rollback Meghan: Paid go away not about politics, ‘only a humanitarian challenge’ MORE (R-W.Va.), rating member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, mentioned in a press release.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoBiden administration to launch 50 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve Energy data chief blames marketplace for excessive gasoline prices Let’s plan for human ingenuity in our combat towards local weather change MORE (R-Wyo.), the highest Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, accused Democrats of “waging a war on American energy.

Even Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBernie Sanders’ ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions The GOP’s post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it’s dangerous Giving thanks — and thinking about the hungry MORE (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” whereas criticizing the administration’s power coverage as “shortsighted.”

Biden in remarks Tuesday sought to guarantee the general public that the U.S. economic system was on the upswing and an increase in prices wouldn’t 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 mentioned in ready remarks, arguing investments in electrical autos, photo voltaic panels and different 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.”

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