That didn’t take long. Just a day after NBC News warned that the US could see record high gas prices before the start of the summer travel season, CNN reports that we’ve already arrived at that destination. Gas prices went up more than four cents overnight and have exceeded the previous high reached on March 11:
In another blow to the US economy, prices at the pump soared to fresh record highs.
The national average price for regular gasoline climbed more than four cents on Tuesday to $4.37 a gallon, according to AAA. That takes out the prior record of $4.33 set on March 11.
The gas spike — prices are up 17 cents in the past week alone — will only add to inflationary pressures that have raised recession fears, rocked financial markets and soured Americans’ views on the economy.
Four cents overnight, 17 cents in a week. Does anyone really think that abortion will be the big issue in the midterms? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
CNN also notes that the policy response from Joe Biden has proven just as impotent as everyone predicted:
The national average dipped to as low as $4.07 a gallon in April after the record-setting release of oil from emergency reserves and as oil prices cooled off. But as industry analysts predicted at the time, that relief proved to be short-lived and minor.
The Washington Post remains in head-scratching mode on this point. Even before the record got shattered, they wondered whether Biden had anything left in the tank, so to speak:
President Biden’s efforts to blunt rising prices at the pump are proving no match for the market forces that have again sent the cost of gas surging.
The average price for a gallon of gas nationwide hit $4.33 on Monday. And in California, it is a $1.50 higher than even that. The near-record prices come despite the fact that Biden ordered the flow of a million barrels per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve a little over a month ago. The administration’s move to allow more ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply hasn’t brought much relief to consumers, either.
The sticker shock comes as Biden on Tuesday is expected to outline his latest plan to reduce the price pressures throughout the economy that have badly damaging his popularity. …
“The tools the federal government can use to influence prices are limited,” said Devin Gladden, manager of federal affairs at AAA National. “They are already using almost the whole toolbox.”
Ahem. If that’s the case, then Biden and his team desperately need to make a figurative trip to a policy Home Depot tout suite. That would start with a revoking of Biden’s Executive Order 13990 imposing all sorts of new red tape on exploration, extraction, and refining of oil and natural gas in the US. Those restrictions are disincentivizing capital investment needed to return domestic production to its elastic, scalable flexibility shown during the Trump administration, which turned the US into a net exporter of oil.
Furthermore, we could relieve some pressure on gas prices in particular by restarting the Keystone XL pipeline, if we can even get those companies interested in it again. That would have facilitated the transfer of massive quantities of Canadian oil to US refineries, a safer and more efficient method than transport by train. The pipeline would have boosted domestic gasoline production, therefore either (a) lowering the cost at the pump, (b) boosting our exports and therefore our economic growth, or most likely (c) both.
Instead, Biden has pursued an energy policy that is deliberately aimed at producing less oil, natural gas, and therefore refined products such as gasoline. As Biden and his progressive allies will occasionally admit, higher prices is a desired outcome of these policies, because they want to discourage consumption of fossil fuels in favor of so-called green energy alternatives, none of which (save nuclear) is scalable or competitive at price without massive subsidies. Under political pressure, Biden has engineered stupid gimmicks to attempt short-term price relief such as suggesting “tax holidays” and releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, hoping to avoid the political consequences of his deliberate knee-capping of American energy production.
It’s no surprise that we’re getting higher gas prices as a result. In his few honest moments, Biden might even brag about it. We don’t just need a new toolbox — we need to get the tools out of power so that we can return to a practical energy policy that meets our needs and provides us with leverage in a dangerous world.
Update: For more background on the capital and regulatory obstacles in place, here’s my interview of oil-industry analyst and podcaster Chuck Yates. It’s not an easy picture, but it’s made more complicated by Biden’s energy policy. Be sure to subscribe to The Ed Morrissey Show Podcast on your favorite platforms, and subscribe to the Chuck Yates Needs A Job podcasts too.