NewsNational Politics

Actions

What options does Biden have to lower gas prices?

Gas Prices
Posted at 4:00 AM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 11:15:15-05

LAUREL, MD — Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been felt around the world, most notably at the gas pump. This week, experts expect prices to go even higher.

So, what options do the country's leaders have to lower gas prices?

FRUSTRATION AT THE PUMP

Across the country, the gas station has become a place of frustration.

"It's crazy," said Bruce Flemming, an Uber driver in Maryland.

"It's ridiculous," said Anthony Okoko, a driver who works in the auto industry.

According to AAA, the national average is now over $4 per gallon, and it's much higher in states like California, Nevada and Arizona.

HOW HIGH WILL IT GO?

Of course, the biggest questions right now are how high the prices will go, and can President Joe Biden and Congress do anything to keep costs down?

"We could get to $4.25, maybe $4.50 a gallon," said Patrick De Haan, who predicts gas prices for GasBuddy.

De Haan says $4.10 per gallon is the current record-high national average for gas, which happened back in 2008. He predicts the national average will go even higher this year.

"It could come as early as April Fools' Day," De Haan said.

That data is getting the attention of Biden, who does have some options.

Option #1 — Suspend the Federal Gas Tax

That tax is currently 18 cents per gallon.

While some lawmakers have suggested suspending the tax could help, the idea is struggling to take off because of a fear that a decline in the gas tax would mean less money for infrastructure projects.

The new infrastructure spending bill signed into law by Biden late last year relies heavily on revenue from the gas tax.

Option #2 — Allow winter gasoline to be used throughout summer

De Haan says that in most places, the Environmental Protection Agency mandates that a cleaner form of gasoline be sold between June 1 and Sept. 15. That's because, in warmer months, gasoline has a greater chance of evaporating, causing smog.

"There is (sic) a lot of complications when the nation switches to summer gasoline," De Haan said.

Biden could enact a waiver to keep the cheaper winter gas flowing.

"Winter gasoline has higher emissions, it is more volatile, but it is cheaper to produce," De Haan said.

Option #3 — Release more petroleum from the country's reserve

The president has already done that, but so far, it has had very little impact on what motorists pay at the pump.

Option #4 — Increase domestic energy production

However, such a decision would go against the Biden administration's efforts to combat climate change and reduce drilling.

There is no easy solution for the president, but it is an issue that motorists and voters want to be solved.

Okoko, the Maryland driver who called prices "ridiculous," voted for Biden.

"I might go Republican the way things are going," Okoko said. "Something has got to be done."