“Depends on Saudi Arabia,” Joe Biden said in response to a question about rising gas prices at CNN’s town-hall event last night. Many of us can remember when it actually depended on us. That’s because before Biden took office, our domestic production allowed us to become a net exporter.
Our sister site has a clip of part of the answer, but the whole thing is as incoherent as this clip showing Biden stumbling around the obvious:
Biden on soaring gas prices:
"I don't have a near term answer…It's going to be hard." pic.twitter.com/uaHAkSELCF
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 22, 2021
BIDEN: My guess is you’ll start to see gas prices come down as we get by going into the winter — I mean, excuse me, into next year, 2022. I don’t see anything that’s going to happen in the meantime that’s going to significantly reduce gas prices.
But, for example, for natural gas to heat your homes as winter’s coming, there’s a lot of — what people don’t realize, we put in billions of dollars into what we call LIHEAP. LIHEAP is the provision whereby you’re able to get funding from the federal government based upon your need to heat your home. And it’s subsidized in a significant way. And there’s billions of dollars we had passed in the legislation I got passed in March of this year. Because we anticipated that would be a problem as well.
But the answer ultimately is, ultimately meaning the next three or four years, is investing in renewable energy. What I was able to do… (APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: You know, by the way, I really — I’m not being — I mean, I’m being literal when I say this. What I was able to do when I ran, and you remember, Anderson, because I was on your show a couple of times, and the issue was whether or not I could ever get the labor unions to support my environmental programs. And I went out and I went to the IBEW and as well to the autoworkers, and I laid out my plan. They fully embraced it. Why? Because — and I spent time at General Motors and other companies. And I got General Motors — I didn’t get them. General Motors decided after a long time spent talking to me, they were suing California because they had a higher standard — mileage standard. They dropped the suit and agreed that they would be 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030. By 2030.
And now you have all three, all three major manufacturers saying the same thing. So what will happen is you’re going to see a dramatic drop, a dramatic drop in what’s going to happen in terms of gas prices as we go into the next two or three years, even if we’re not able to break the monopoly price they’re keeping it up because — anyway. So there’s — but I don’t — I must tell you, I don’t have a near-term answer. There’s two things I could do. I could go in the petroleum reserve and take out and probably reduce the price of gas maybe 18 cents or so a gallon. It’s still going to be above 3 bucks. And one of the things that I refuse to have happen, because I didn’t want anybody — I made a commitment if you pass the stuff I’m talking about, not one single penny in tax would go against anybody making less than 400 grand. And so if you notice, these highway bills are not paid for by gas tax. They’re paid for by direct expenditures in other areas. So no average person is going to have to pay more.
But it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard. There’s a possibility to be able to bring it down, depends on — a little bit on Saudi Arabia and a few other things that are in the offing.
The claim that we have to be dependent on Saudi Arabia gives the game away. Biden’s policies on exploration, extraction, and refining have created a domestic-production shortage that hasn’t done a thing to improve output from “renewable energy.” We’ve been investing in “renewable energy” since the first oil shocks of the 1970s and the realization of the national-security consequences of dependence on OPEC. It’s not reliable enough nor plentiful enough to replace petroleum, which is why we spent the previous four years ramping up domestic production on oil and gas to remove that dependency on foreign producers.
OPEC has already declared that it won’t act to lower prices, by the way, so Biden’s wheedling the Saudis for no particular reason at this point. Selling off the Strategic Reserve would only create a momentary drop in retail prices, which would go right back up when the government started buying enough to refill it. It would be just as fulfilling as Biden’s stimulus payment, and every bit as inflationary in the long run.
Most of the rest of this is drizzly horse patooties, to use a term Biden might grasp. Energy prices don’t go down in the winter, they go up, and this winter those prices are expected to go through the roof. That’s why Biden not only begged the Saudis for more production, he went to the same American fossil-fuel producers Biden routinely demonizes for their products to beg for more of it at a lower price. Biden may have meant that prices will go down after winter, but I wouldn’t bet on that either, not as long as Biden keeps restricting exploration and extraction. And especially not until the White House resolves the supply-chain crisis that will put even more pressure on gas prices at the pump.
Biden seems pretty desperate to avoid the obvious connection between his policies and their outcome, bringing up unrelated programs and policies like LIHEAP. LIHEAP is a program for heating energy, which makes Biden’s response a complete non-sequitur to gas prices. Besides, LIHEAP doesn’t bring down heating prices either; it merely subsidizes them for low-income households. To the extent that this mechanism distorts supply and demand, it probably makes the true price even higher for everyone else.
Finally, all of this babbling from Biden hides one clear fact: Biden wants gas prices to go up, both in the near term and in the long run. He wants to price oil-based energy so high that the subsidized “renewable energy” platforms can compete better with them, and to frustrate consumers enough to boost political standing for Biden’s environmental agenda. More honest Leftists will admit this as a policy goal, and often do. Instead, Biden’s dissembling and tossing out non-sequiturs and nonsense to hide the fact that higher gas prices and foreign dependency are intentional outcomes of his policies. It may be the only success Biden has actually had as president. He should own it rather than lie and stumble around it.