Have you noticed recently how expensive gas has become in the last month or so? Are you a local commuter or have a car here on campus? These are just a few questions that have recently arisen when viewing the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Let’s take a step back and discuss some of the events that took place that caused the sudden rise of gas prices in the United States.
Since Biden’s inauguration in late January, gas prices have risen over 10%, leading many Americans to conclude that Joe Biden is to blame. The correlation between the rise in the price of gasoline and Joe BIden’s step into presidency has been utilized by many right-leaning media outlets to paint a negative view of Biden’s time in office so far.
While it may seem Biden is the main culprit for the increase in gas prices, during Donald Trump’s term in office, gas prices rose 30% since his inauguration in 2017. While the majority of the increase came under Trump’s presidency, President Biden has received most of the heat from the public.
Another huge factor for the increase of gas prices was the massive freeze that halted the infrastructure of the state of Texas. Texas is the largest producer of crude oil in the US; a major winter storm in February resulted in the loss of a million crude oil barrels alongside the shortage of natural gas by 50%. This, combined with a rising demand for oil, which stemmed from the ease of COVID restrictions, led to the skyrocketing of gas prices across the country.
The state of Texas actually relied on a massive electrical grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which ultimately failed. In 1999, Texas rehauled its electrical grids and completely remapped how electricity was spread through the state. This change, alongside the lack of historical preparation for such an event, had little to do with the sitting president of the time but rather the government of the state.
One of the key points from many Americans in regards to why President Biden has caused the rise in gas prices is due to his order to halt the Keystone XL pipeline. However, this is invalid because the pipeline had not been constructed yet. The Keystone XL pipeline wasn’t expected to be up and running until 2023.
Ultimately, the main cause of the rising gas prices is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the success of the vaccine rollouts, COVID-19 cases are starting to decrease, which means that more people are beginning to travel. With people traveling more, the demand for oil is increasing. The production of oil has not caught up yet to the demand of oil because the production was at an all-time low during the pandemic, which ultimately led to oil companies raising their prices.
When it comes down to it, presidents have very little impact on the regular changes in the price of gasoline. Multiple factors, a majority of which are external like weather, are all to blame for the rising gas prices.
So, next time you stop by Valero and have to break the bank, before you jump to blame the president, consider other factors at play.
Nicholas White is a freshman studying political science.Tre Spencer is a freshman studying photojournalism. Please note that the views and ideas of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Nicholas and Tre? Tweet them @nicholaswhiite @trerspencer1.