Gas prices have hit a new record of $4.86 per gallon nationally. That’s more than double the price of gas when Biden took office. The national average price of a gallon of regular gas was $2.38 per gallon in January 2021.
The Biden administration caused gas prices to rise even faster by taking actions to cut oil production, making oil more scarce. On taking office, Biden issued a slew of executive actions suspending oil and gas leases, as CNBC reported in January 2021.
As the Heritage Foundation observes,
At first, Mr. Biden patted himself on the back for his plans to restrict oil and natural gas-based energy. Now that gasoline prices are really taking off, however, he denies that he has slowed domestic oil drilling.
But he has…..On Mr. Biden’s first day in office, he issued an executive order directing the Secretary of the Interior to put a …. moratorium on the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program. That program directs the Bureau of Land Management to lease certain lands in Alaska for oil and gas extraction.
A few days later, he issued another order “pausing” oil and gas leases on all public lands and waters.
According to the Bureau, Alaska’s Coastal Plain is “some of the most highly prospective land on Alaska’s North Slope.” It contains billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. It is a king’s ransom of energy wealth, and the law requires that the administration make it available for extraction….The result: Mr. Biden has unlawfully trapped much of America’s vast energy reserves behind a wall of bureaucratic red tape, leaving them unavailable now that the country needs them.
Federal oil reserves are lower because Democrats blocked refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2020.
In March 2020, President Trump proposed adding oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when oil cost only $14 per barrel, but Democrats blocked him from doing that. Now, oil is more expensive, well over $100 per barrel. Not buying oil back in 2020 cost the U.S. government the opportunity to make tens of billions of dollars reselling the oil today for at a profit of around $90 per barrel. That could have reduced the national debt, and had a modest effect on gas prices, too.
If Congress had authorized the purchase of several hundred million barrels of oil for $14 back in 2020, the federal government could sell that oil today for over $100 per barrel, making tens of billions of dollars in profits (if Congressional authorized such a non-emergency sale, as it probably would).
But the oil reserve is nowhere near full, and no effort was made to expand its capacity when oil was cheap. Now, there is too little oil in the reserve to have much effect on oil prices, and the price of a barrel of oil could be even higher — as high as $120 — in a few months.