KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.

 

Fuel Folly: Biden Takes Credit for Falling Gas Prices

After spending months insisting they have little or no control over rising oil and gas prices, the Biden administration is now busy patting themselves on the back as prices fall. Indeed, prices have steadily declined from the all-time record set back in mid-June, as AAA now has the national average at $4.14 a gallon, a nearly 90-cent drop over the past six weeks. Texas' average is down more than a dollar in that same period, dropping from $4.70 to $3.64 a gallon.

The drop in pump prices has coincided with a decline in crude oil, which fell below the $90 a barrel mark on Monday for the first time in several months. As for what's behind the price decline, it appears to be consumer behavior, not increased production or government policy as the driver. "There were new numbers last week that seemed to suggest U.S. drivers are now driving almost less than they were during the pandemic," says Phil Flynn, energy market analyst with Price Futures Group. "That is raising real concerns about a recession, or signs that people just can't afford to drive."

In other words, gas prices are coming down because people are driving less, due to skyrocketing prices for gas and nearly everything else. That's not exactly something for the White House to crow about. What Biden has done is release millions of barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and ask Saudi Arabia and OPEC to increase their production--which mostly fell on deaf ears. "Biden releasing the reserve oil not only had no impact on prices, but it might actually backfire," says Flynn. "Because refiners have been getting drunk on cheap petroleum reserve oil...that's going to stop in the near future, and when that happens the price of crude oil probably goes back up, which will drive up gasoline prices again.

In the meantime, prices still have a long way to go. Even after the recent decline, the national average gas price remains $1.75 higher than the day President Biden took office.


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