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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is blaming the pandemic for soaring gas prices.
Since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20, the national average gas price has soared more than 50 cents. As of Friday, it stood at nearly $3 per gallon — $2.96. The average was $2.38 per gallon when Biden took office, and $2.11 per gallon on Election Day last year.
What did Granholm say?
CNN anchor Jake Tapper confronted Granholm on Friday about skyrocketing gas prices, asking the former Michigan Democratic governor whether high energy prices will slow down the post-pandemic economic recovery.
“Beyond whether or not you think your policies are to blame, are you worried that the prices could impact whether or not Americans travel, which is, of course, needed to put money back into the economy?” Tapper asked.
In response, Granholm suggested an out-of-control COVID-19 virus is to blame for higher prices at the pump.
“People need to travel, you’re right, but we need to get the virus under control first, we need to get to that 70%, we need to get to herd immunity,” Granholm replied.
“Why have gas prices gone up? Could that be because of the virus itself as well? Everything is tied together,” she added. “So I just want to say, this administration is totally focused on getting this virus under control, which means the economy will get under control, and then investing in the nation so that we can go big on America.”
Ironically, Granholm’s remark about herd immunity comes after the New York Times published a story suggesting herd immunity in the U.S. is no longer probable.
What’s to blame?
While typical culprits such as refinery maintenance and converting to summertime blends are partly to blame for the surge in gas prices, oil expert David Blackmon recently explained in Forbes the Biden administration’s policies are also a major contributor.
“Since last November 3, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. has skyrocketed by 75 cents. The markets clearly see the Biden/Harris administration as one that will work to inhibit U.S. oil production, which will also have the effect of tightening the global market, and traders have responded by driving up the price of crude oil,” Blackmon wrote.
President Biden’s Day 1 executive orders to cancel the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and suspend the program for oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters were just initial shots across the bow. His order to raise the estimate for the “social cost of carbon” by over 700% will inevitably result in regulatory actions that will raise the cost of producing oil in the U.S., as will the coming effort by the Biden EPA to convince the courts to allow it to regulate carbon as a “criteria pollutant,” a topic I’ll address in more detail in the coming days.
All of these actions and more to come will increase the costs of not just oil and gasoline, but all forms of non-renewable energy for consumers, will make the country increasingly reliant on foreign oil imports and thus will render the country less energy secure than before. These outcomes are entirely predictable and are in fact features of the Biden/Harris plan, which is in part designed to make EVs and renewables more competitive by raising the cost of fossil fuels and other more traditional forms of energy. That’s not a value judgement: it’s just reality.