By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square
Gasoline prices set a record Tuesday as President Joe Biden blamed inflation on COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to AAA, the cost at the pump for both regular gasoline and diesel fuel reached their highest recorded average price Tuesday morning.
The national average of a regular gallon of gasoline was $4.374, up five cents from Monday, and $5.55 for diesel, up one cent from Monday.
The nation’s 10 largest weekly increases, AAA reports, were in Michigan (+26 cents), New Jersey (+25 cents), Connecticut (+19 cents), Kentucky (+19 cents), Indiana (+19 cents), Rhode Island (+19 cents), Illinois (+18 cents), Washington, D.C. (+18 cents), Alabama (+18 cents) and Tennessee (+18 cents).
The nation’s 10 most expensive markets continue to be in California ($5.82), Hawaii ($5.28), and Nevada ($5.11), followed by Washington ($4.83), Oregon ($4.81), Alaska ($4.73), Washington, D.C. ($4.69), Arizona ($4.66), Illinois ($4.59) and New York ($4.51).
For the week ending March 14, weekly retail average gasoline prices across all grades was $4.41 a gallon, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, the highest on record.
As of Tuesday morning, the domestic benchmark, WTI Crude, was $102.74 a barrel and the international benchmark, Brent Crude, was $105.44 a barrel.
Gas prices also are reaching record highs at a time of the year when they traditionally go up because refiners switch to producing more expensive summer blends. As travel picks up over the summer and demand for gasoline increases, gas prices are only expected to go up even further.
Gas prices have been rising since Biden first came into office and began implementing a range of restrictions on domestic production. Within months of doing so, well before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. gas prices reached a seven-year high.
Biden on Tuesday acknowledged rising costs were hurting Americans but didn’t offer many details on what he would do about it.
“Families all across America are hurting,” he said. “They’re frustrated. I don’t blame them. I really don’t blame them. There’s a lot we have to do.”
The president also blamed the pandemic and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Americans are waking up to the highest gas prices ever as President Biden’s energy failures continue to mount,” energy nonprofit Power The Future said in a statement. “The latest skyrocketing gas prices come less than two months from the previous record for regular gasoline while diesel has set a new record on a regular basis since last week.”
“There is no doubt the White House is hoping that Americans simply become numb to yet another disastrous result of their energy failures, but the pain at the pump is too real and everyone intrinsically understands that Joe Biden is to blame,” the organization’s founder and executive director, Daniel Turner, said.
“President Biden is now a two-time record holder for the highest gas prices, the most oil drained from the strategic reserve and re-injecting the term ‘inflation’ back into the national lexicon for the first time since the 1970s. This type of failure doesn’t happen by accident,” he added. “The President’s green ideology is a man-made disaster and we’re all paying the price.”
As gas and other prices keep climbing, Biden’s remained steadfast in restricting domestic production, instead turning to OPEC+ countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, to produce more oil, while also releasing record amounts from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced it was investing $3.1 billion to bolster electric vehicle production with a goal of electric vehicles making up half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.
By the end of 2021, electric vehicle sales accounted for 3.4% of car sales, according to the EIA. As of March, more than 2.5 million plug-in electric vehicles had been sold nationwide, according to the DOE.
Critics say if Biden hadn’t canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, gas prices would be lower, and the pipeline would have strengthened U.S. GDP by an estimated more than $3 billion, carried roughly 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the U.S., and directly and indirectly provided up to 26,000 jobs.
Sixteen attorneys general called on Biden to reinstate the pipeline, prioritize domestic energy production, and “reverse the damage” he’s done. Last month, they wrote the president saying, “It’s never too late to admit your mistakes.”