Weekend Online Poll: Who Is To Blame For High Gas Prices?
It's no secret that gasoline prices have hit an all-time high recently, averaging well over four dollars a gallon.
The American Automobile Association reports prices nationally average $4.26 a gallon as of today [March 19]. That's actually down slightly from a week ago when the national average was $4.32 a gallon, but not many motorists are going to celebrate a decline of six cents a gallon.
Wyoming drivers are actually paying a little less for gas than the national average at $4.03 a gallon, up marginally from an average of $4.01, and there are still places in the Cowboy state--such as Natrona County--where gas is under $3.90 a gallon.
But even that relatively low number [compared to the national average] is roughly $1.50 to $1.75 per gallon higher than it cost to gas up in Wyoming just a couple of years ago. In a state where driving long distances for work, shopping, recreation, and healthcare are just a fact of like for many people, that's a significant jolt.
So who is to blame for these seemingly out-of-control prices at the pump?
For many Republicans, that answer is an easy one. They say the blame lies directly at the steps of the White House and President Joe Biden. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, for example, has posted on his Facebook page ''Starting on his first day in office, Joe Biden waged an all-out war on #AmericanEnergy." They point to a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands, the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline, and general regulatory hostility to fossil fuels as evidence of why the Biden White House is to blame for skyrocketing gas prices.
Republicans say the fact that gas prices have increased by about 70 percent since Biden took office speaks for itself.
But the president's defenders say it's not so simple, adding that the president does not set gasoline prices and actually has far less impact on prices at the pump than many people seem to think. Democrats accuse big oil companies of intentionally driving up the price of oil to increase profits. Some argue that oil production actually increased through 2021, from about 11 million barrels of oil a day to 11.5 million.
They say it doesn't make sense to blame Biden for forcing a decrease in production when it actually has increased over the past year. Congressional Democrats in the past week have issued calls for energy company executives to testify before congressional committees to explain the high prices.
Still, others blame OPEC for keeping oil production worldwide relatively low despite increasing demand as the COVID pandemic has started to ease and people are traveling more. President Biden himself seems to have blamed Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the prices, calling it the "Putin price hike" in a speech earlier this month.
So who do you think is to blame? Take our poll and give us your opinion?