President Joe Biden’s message to gasoline retailers for the July 4 holiday weekend was every bit as divisive and unproductive as one might expect. The operators of the presidential Twitter account published the following message on Saturday:
“My message to companies that run gas stations and set prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” the @POTUS account said. “Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product. And do it now.
Thus, we see the president seem to be “working like the devil” to bring down gas prices by posting a threatening tweet. Coincidentally, as the price of crude oil has moderated somewhat over the past two weeks, the price of gasoline at the pump has also moderated. AAA reports that the national average price for a gallon of regular fuel stood at $4.81 on Sunday, down 21 cents from its all-time high of $5.02 reached on June 14.
Biden’s interested tweet prompted a response from Amazon
The presidential tweet is a fairly transparent attempt by the White House to take some of the credit for the 21-cent price cut, though pundits would likely argue the drop was due to a variety of market factors, chief among them is market speculation. of an impending recession that is killing demand. This speculation was offset at the end of the week by supply disruptions due to strikes in France and Norway and the war in Libya, as well as the growing realization that OPEC+ has essentially lost its ability to influence the market with more exports.
Meanwhile, as the White House tried to take credit for a modest price swing, senior administration politicians used the week to take more action to depress the oil and gas industry. national. In addition to the EPA’s announced intention to declare the Permian Basin non-compliant with the ozone layer (which I reported on Friday), Biden’s Department of the Interior, led by Secretary Deb Haaland, waited a day past the statutory deadline to release her proposed five-year offshore lease plan for oil and gas exploration in federal waters.
The plan, released as a standard docs dump in Washington D.C. late Friday evening of a holiday weekend, is predictably restrictive and amounts to a transparent effort to afford Sec. Haaland with the rationale needed to maintain the de facto ban on offshore leasing that she and the president have imposed since the day Biden took office.
Reuters reports that the plan envisions holding “0 to 11” auctions in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 5 years, and maybe, maybe one in Cook Inlet, Alaska. It contains no idea of holding auctions in the waters off the North Slope of Alaska or off the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. Crucially, Haaland, a longtime oil and gas opponent, said DOI may in fact not hold any auctions, continuing the trend it has established over the past 17 months. She indicated that public comments on the plan would be law, echoing Biden’s own remarks that actions like this aimed at hampering the domestic oil industry are part and parcel of the “incredible transition” to energy. renewable.
“From day one, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to moving to a clean energy economy,” Haaland said in a statement. “Today we offer the American people the opportunity to review and provide their input on the future of offshore oil and gas leasing. Now is the time for the public to weigh in on our future.”
Haaland’s message to the “American people” in this statement is primarily a message to the anti-oil and gas activist community. The Administrative Procedures Act requires the DOI to consider public comments before moving forward with plans like this. Over the past 30 years, the environmental community has perfected the practice of flooding the DOI with hundreds of thousands of identical, cut-and-paste statements of opposition to each of these plans. This will certainly happen again, while the industry itself will most likely mount its traditional token effort on its own, run by a handful of trade associations and NGOs. Haaland will then count the totals and use them to support his decision to move forward, most likely without any rental sales.
If we haven’t learned anything else about her administration in the past 17 months, surely we should have learned that she has every intention of delivering on Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign promises to “end” to leasing oil and gas in the federal offshore.
Like refinery operators in the United States, gas station operators do not set prices but are price takers. The prices they charge customers are determined by a combination of market factors, taxes and regulatory actions. There’s simply no denying that virtually every regulatory action taken by the Biden administration thus far has had an upward impact on the prices that retailers charge at the pump.
This week’s actions by the EPA and DOI are just the latest two examples. This is the Biden plan.