Gas prices reached a nationwide average of $4.48 per gallon on Monday, marking a new high after the cost of diesel set its own record on Sunday at $5.56 a gallon, according to AAA’s gas tracker.
Soaring gas prices will soon translate into even higher prices across the economy as transportation and manufacturing become more expensive in a new era of inflation. Last week, numbers from the Department of Labor showed inflation running at its fastest pace in more than 40 years with an 8.3 percent price increase last month. In California, residents are paying the highest prices in the country at an average of $5.98 per gallon, and more than $7 near Yosemite National Park.
The climbing costs reflect the policy consequences of the Biden administration, which enthusiastically forfeited energy independence within 15 months of his inauguration in the name of climate change being an immediate threat. Last week, the president continued to antagonize the oil and gas industry with the cancellation of more energy projects across the country even as consumers face real-dollar gas prices not seen in nearly 15 years.
The record-breaking prices on Monday come a day after President Joe Biden’s “unprecedented” release from the nation’s emergency strategic petroleum reserves began to pump oil on the market. In April, Biden announced he would order that 1 million barrels per day be emptied from the emergency stockpile for six months, with no plans to replace the lost crude. The effort to artificially bring down gas prices in a nation that uses 20 million barrels per day, however, has already failed to keep costs from reaching before-unseen levels. Biden’s prior deployment of the emergency reserves to save political capital ahead of the November midterms similarly failed to keep gas prices down for long.
Biden’s refusal to unleash American energy potential has continued to wreak havoc on the economy as oil and gas production remain suppressed with no signs of reversal. Last month, the Department of the Interior announced that the agency would reluctantly proceed with lease sales to drill on federal land with key caveats. The acreage available for bidding includes only 20 percent of the lands initially nominated before Biden’s illegal suspension was implemented. Companies will also be forced to pay 50 percent higher royalties on what’s extracted, raising production prices, which will eventually fall on consumers.
Even as the Interior Department auctions off new drilling leases to comply with a federal court order, White House officials have made clear that the administration has no plans to see them through.
“President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands,” White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy pledged on MSNBC last month.