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One-on-one: Energy Secretary Granholm says we will continue to see rise in gas prices

TMJ4 asks if gas prices will get worse before they get better
California High Gas Prices
Posted at 5:36 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 19:41:24-04

The national average for gas is $4.57 a gallon. Wisconsin and Milwaukee County are both slightly below that average, according to Triple-A.

TMJ4'S Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson asked Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm if gas prices will get worse before they get better.

"Honestly, I think they will continue to rise a bit, and let me tell you why."

Secretary Granholm says global events are pushing oil prices higher here at home.

For starters, she points to Russia's war in Ukraine. The U.S. stopped buying oil from Russia.

Now more countries are also saying no to Russian oil at a time when China is coming out of Covid lockdowns. Both events she says will only mean higher demand and prices.

Granholm says independent researchers from her Department's Energy Information Administration suggested gas prices will likely remain high.

"You are going to continue to see that upward pressure on prices," said Granholm. "For the next few months probably until the end of this year, unless something happens dramatically with the war."

When asked if gas prices could hit $5 or $6 a gallon, Granholm said, "I think they're going to definitely remain about $4 per gallon and you're going into the driving season in the summer, which historically creates that upward pressure on prices."

President Biden has also called for more production. Gas companies has also temporarily given Wisconsin the go ahead for continued use this summer of E15, a lower price gasoline with higher ethanol content.

"The President has used our biggest tool, which is our strategic petroleum reserve, and he said we're going to release a million barrels per day from our strategic petroleum reserve to try to stabilize prices."

The Biden Administration has come under heavy criticism from Republicans for putting an end to the Keystone XL pipeline. While the pipeline would not be up and running right now, it still faces years of construction and legal challenges. Republicans say it would have made the U.S. more energy efficient.

"Every objective analyst has looked at that, and said that is just a talking point," said Granholm.

She points to a Dallas Federal Reserve survey with oil and gas executives that suggests it's multifaceted.

"94% of them said things other than U.S. policy related to pipelines," Granholm said. "It's the global market, it's them coming out of Covid and getting their rigs online faster."

Down the road, the Biden Administrations hopes electric vehicles will help reduce demand for oil and gas.

"The best solution is to really do home grown and electrify our transportation system, you have EV's that are $12 to fill up for the same amount of distance that you would pay $70 to fill up a tank for," Granholm said.

But the cost of EV's is out of range for many consumers right now.

"The president as a holistic strategy on that," said Granholm. "Including tax credits at the price of purchase to bring down the cost of electric vehicles and putting electric vehicle charging stations all across the country as part of that bipartisan infrastructure law."

The White House said this week, $110 billion of the $1 trillion infrastructure money approved last November has been sent to states to get construction projects going.

Wisconsin is expected to get $5.5 billion to fix roads and bridges and $79 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

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