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Opinion | Republicans would be wrong not to thank Biden for lowering gas prices


Gas prices have fallen sharply since hitting $5 a gallon in June. The national average price of regular gas is now about $3.30 13 states the average price is under $3, where the national average can be by Christmas. If your car has a 15-gallon tank, that means you’ll soon be paying just $45 instead of $75 this summer to fill up. What a relief!

This is a policy victory for President Biden, a direct result of his actions. Even his Republican opponents are lining up to praise him for heeding his earlier criticisms, now that he’s lowered prices and put more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans.

Everything in the second paragraph is, of course, an invention. Biden is no more responsible for lowering gas prices than he is responsible for raising them in the first place. Republicans are decidedly not praising him — for that or anything else.

But when prices were high, they couldn’t stop repeating that it was all Biden’s fault. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.) blamed Democrats’ “out-of-touch policies” after Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and increased demand from a recovering economy initially pushed up gas prices. Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, claimed that gas prices are rising because Biden has a secret plan to “deplete our energy independence.”

Other Republicans agreed. Some started calls him “Biden’s gas surge.” Conservatives even posted a picture of Biden pointing the finger and saying, “I did it!” They sold stickers with the words. sticking to fuel pumps for angry gas buyers.

It all hinged on two ideas: First, Biden wanted gas prices to go up, which is patently stupid (wouldn’t an evil villain like him at least want prices to stay low to boost his approval ratings?) and second. , said Biden has the authority to set those prices.

Catherine Rampell: Are you excited about the drop in gas prices? Be careful what you wish for.

Over the past few years, as in previous periods of rising gas prices, fact-checkers have duly pointed out that the Republican claims are bogus. In general, the president can do little to raise prices, let alone lower them. The reason why they are falling now is due to the fear of recession, along with the decrease in demand in China.

Unfortunately, Biden probably contributed to the belief that he could control gas prices by making a big show of trying to do something about them. He called on gas companies to investigate whether “illegal behavior is costing families at the pump.” and released oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve. But even people who generally support it (like me) have pointed out that while a number of presidents have taken this step in the past, removing oil from the strategic reserve would at most have a small and temporary effect on total supply.

And in the news media, these random fact-checks have been drowned out by multiple reports along the lines of “Rising prices pose a political problem for Biden.” They were peppered with quotes from Republicans saying it was Biden’s fault, and a line in paragraph 12 suggested it was routine and reasonable to blame the president for gas prices, even if he could explain that he had nothing to do with it. they are.

The long-term solution to the gas price problem is familiar to every American who owns an electric car or plug-in hybrid: Get off fossil fuels. If you drive a Hyundai Ioniq or a Tesla (conservatives think it’s cool now that Elon Musk is a right-wing troll), you don’t care how much gas costs.

While electric cars still make up a small portion of the market, sales have grown steadily and will likely continue to grow, especially since the Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions to encourage the production and sale of electric cars. Even so, most cars on the road will run on gas for some time to come. This means we will continue to worry about gas prices.

So, now that everyone’s calmed down a bit on the matter, here’s what we should do: Let’s promise ourselves and each other that the next time prices go up—which they inevitably will—we’ll try not to be so dumb about it.

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