Taking Sides: President Biden is NOT to Blame for the Rising Gas Prices

Cartoonist+C.Noller

Cartoonist C.Noller

Anna Childs, Opinion Columnist

As gas prices rise across the country, an upset population is eager to point fingers at political leaders and direct blame. However, while it may seem that President Biden has caused this recent spike, the rise has very little correlation with his presidency and much more with the state of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the early stages of the pandemic, the demand for gas took a steep nosedive, as many Americans switched to virtual schooling and working from home, no longer using their cars to commute daily. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) soon decreased gas production due to this huge decline in demand and is now struggling to meet the new need from surging numbers of U.S. drivers for gas. With such a low supply and newfound high demand, it was only inevitable that higher gas prices would soon follow.

  Many accusers reference the President’s decision to close the Keystone XL pipeline, which was set to carry oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, as well as his choice to suspend oil and gas leasing permits on federal lands as the reason for the limited oil supply. This connection doesn’t take into account the delayed nature of the free market. There is no way that a decision as recent as the pipeline closing would have such an immediate impact on gas prices in the U.S. As Severin Borenstein, a professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley said, “At this point, there is no plausible connection between Biden becoming president and the increasing gasoline prices” (CNN).

  President Biden has called upon OPEC to increase oil production, but OPEC “is refusing to increase production, despite surging demand for gas. As Axios reported, U.S. independent producers also are reluctant to ramp up ‘thanks to a recent wave of bankruptcies and investors demanding more focus on returns’” (Deseret News). As OPEC has only very slowly and recently begun increasing its oil pumping pace, the supply will likely take some time to meet the ever-growing demand. Though the President could make decisions to speed up this process, his influence is, in the end, fairly minimal.

  While irritation with the state of gas prices may be simple to direct at a prominent authority figure like the President, this frustration is misplaced. He may be able to take steps moving forward to improve the state of oil production or address this issue through other means, but it will take some time for them to go into effect.

 

Is President Biden to Blame for Rising Gas Prices?

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