No, Biden Did Not Increase Your Gas Prices


By Eunho Jung

Today, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.864. A year ago, in the state of New Jersey, it was $2.103. It is clear that these prices have spiked tremendously. But, many Americans believe that President Joe Biden is responsible for this increase. However, Joe Biden and his administration are not responsible for the increase in gas prices.

A wildly shared Facebook post started the finger-pointing. Facebook, home to QANON conspiracy theories and racist rhetoric, has yet once again allowed for wildly inaccurate posts to be shared with millions of users. The post reads “When Sleepy Joe Came In Diesel Was $1.69. Today Diesel is $3.19. Thanks To All That Voted For This Clown.” The post shared on March 10, 2021, is wholly inaccurate and false. The national average price for diesel was $2.64 per gallon on January 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn into office. Not $1.69 as the post reads. And, the national average price for diesel in March was $3.04 per gallon, not $3.19.

Others are pointing to the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Pipeline was designed to help carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast. In the early days of his presidency, Joe Biden halted the expansion of the pipeline via executive order. Another Facebook post appeared shortly after. “Stopping the pipeline did not change our use of oil. It just made oil more expensive for us to use. Thanks Joe!! What an idiot!!!” However, this, once again, is not responsible for the increase in gas prices. Although this decision could make oil transportation less efficient in the future, it did not directly affect U.S. gas prices. 

Now you might wonder, if Biden isn’t responsible for the increase in gas prices, then who or what is?

If you have taken even the most basic economics or even business class, you must know the principle of supply and demand. When coronavirus sent the world into lockdown, gas prices dropped: no one was traveling. No demand for gas meant a drop in the prices due to the influx of gas available. But now in 2021, as vaccinations are rolling out with increased speed and states are slowing lifting restrictions, people are traveling more and more, which leads to higher demand. Consequently, causing a lower supply which increases the price of gas. Economics 101. 

Patrick De Hann, head of petroleum analysis at Gasbuddy, cleared up any further misconceptions. “The blame of this is economic improvement – Americans getting out, having places to go. The economy’s reopening, and Americans are responding vigorously, driving up demand.”

Camila Domonoske, a journalist at NPR covering cars, energy, and the future of mobility, further explained the situation. “Demand has been coming back after the lows of the pandemic. And supply – it’s still pretty low. You need crude oil, of course, to make gasoline. The OPEC oil cartel is keeping a lid on output, and U.S. oil companies have voluntarily kept their production low because when oil is more scarce, it’s more profitable.” However, she makes it clear that Biden’s administration and White House policies are not the cause of this problem.

Although De Hann and Domonoske understand basic economic principles, GOP politicians do not. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) is one of the many conservatives that are blaming Joe Biden and his energy policies for this sharp increase. “This is an unbelievable increase in costs for poor families, for people on fixed income,” Scott told Varney & Co. “Their gas is way up in the last month” and “on top of that the utility rates are going up” because “so much of our utilities are done by natural gas.”

Furthermore, Liz Peek, an opinion contributor for The Hill, wrote an opinion piece titled “As gas prices soar, Americans can blame Joe Biden.” She overall claims that “Biden’s appointments of progressives to important Cabinet posts and insertion of climate issues into every agency’s agenda will doubtless drive U.S. oil and gas investment and production down over time. Consequently, prices will increase.” Peek also blames the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline to be a main factor for the increase. A simple scroll through her Twitter stream reveals she is a Trump-supporting conservative. One of her tweets suggesting “Maybe it’s time we stopped listening to Fauci,” is all the indication we need to rule her opinion baseless.

With a new administration in office, it is very easy to play the blame game and blame Biden for everything going wrong in America. It happens with every president, Trump, Obama, Bush, etc. Gas prices fluctuate very often in every single presidency. Blaming Joe Biden for something he had no control over is simply ignorant and foolish.

Arnav Garg, a junior at Wayne Hills High school, shared his opinions on the matter. “I think that it is natural to be skeptical of a recent trend, but it is not reasonable to straight-up blame one person for something like this.”

Juliana Lee, junior editor of the Patriot Press, shared similar views. “I honestly am not suprised at this reaction. Some peoples’ instinct is to blame anyone but themselves in order to justify actions and to protect one’s esteem. And this does not solely apply to conservatives but to liberals as well. Finger pointing overall leads to even more conflicts without even solving the problem at hand. We can already see this in things such as adressing climate change globally.”