One of the most common attacks Republicans have used against President Joe Biden as he seeks a second term has been over energy policy, with particular attention to prices at the pump.
In an Aug. 30 in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., echoed this criticism of Biden.
“This summer, Americans experienced firsthand the devastation Bidenomics has on their wallets,” Miller said. “Gas prices have skyrocketed since Joe Biden took office and continue to do so everyday. @HouseGOP will fight Biden’s war on energy to lower costs for hardworking Americans.”
The term “skyrocketed” is hard to define, so we can’t evaluate that part of Miller’s statement . But we can look at whether prices are higher under Biden, and whether this is Biden’s fault.
Miller’s office did not respond to inquiries for this article.
Are gas prices higher?
Gasoline prices are surely higher under Biden than they were under his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
Data from the Energy Information Administration, a federal agency, shows that the average per-gallon gasoline price during Trump’s four-year term was $2.46. During Biden’s tenure so far, the average has been $3.53. (These figures are not adjusted for inflation.)
Gasoline prices hit $5.01, a record high, under Biden in June 2022. Since then, the price has dropped significantly. At the time of Miller’s post, the price was $3.81; since then, it has fallen slightly to $3.80, during the week of Oct. 2.
Is the increase Biden’s fault?
Experts say that Biden’s policies may have had a marginal effect on gasoline prices but for the most part, the price of gasoline — whether it’s high or low by historical standards — is not something a president can significantly control.
As PolitiFact has reported, gasoline prices initially rose on Biden’s watch because of the recovery after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. As economic activity, commuting and travel rebounded, fuel demand rose faster than global supplies did.
Then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. NATO countries and allies sought to reduce their purchases of Russian crude oil as punishment for its war, which has hampered supply. And other major oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, have largely resisted requests to increase production to fill the void.
Overall, this has kept global crude oil prices high, even though the price has fallen since its peak in summer 2022.
Trump’s low average price was shaped by the opposite phenomenon that Biden experienced. Most of Trump’s final year in office occurred early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when automobile use was sharply lower. This drove gasoline prices to unusually low levels.
Another point: Under Biden, the U.S. is on pace to produce a record-high amount of domestic oil.
U.S crude oil production hit a record high under Trump, with 4.49 billion barrels in 2019. However, the trend line suggests that record could be broken once the books close in 2023.
During the 2023’s first six months, the U.S. produced 2.29 billion barrels of crude oil. If production continues at that pace, the total would reach nearly 4.59 billion barrels by year’s end.
Miller said, “Gas prices have skyrocketed since Joe Biden took office and continue to do so everyday.”
Although there’s no precise definition of “skyrocketed,” it’s clear that gasoline prices have been higher during Biden’s presidency than under Trump’s. This was especially so during the peak in midsummer 2022; prices are significantly lower today.
Experts say, however, that a president’s ability to shape current gasoline prices is sharply limited. Climbing prices under Biden have more to do with increasing economic activity after the pandemic and diplomatic responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details, so we rate it Half True.