Republicans are hoping to gain seats by riding on gasoline prices, implying that they will somehow “fix” them.
Now comes the Washington Monthly’s David Atkins to explain why that’s a con. He explains why the federal government is not responsible for the price increases and can have little influence over them.
Republicans have pinned the pain at the pump on Biden without explaining why, save for griping about a “Green New Deal” that never passed a Democratic Congress. The GOP has no real plans for reducing prices, and its one semblance of vague grunt of an idea, more drilling, would not do anything to lower prices at the pump.
Let’s start with why gas prices are high. The biggest factor is society normalizing after the height of the pandemic. More people are driving. There is usually a summer spike in demand, but after years of postponed vacations, business travel, and road trips to see Grandma, Americans are back in their cars. Higher demand means higher prices. The second most significant factor is Russia’s bloodthirsty invasion of Ukraine, which has led to sanctions and boycotts of Russian energy, as well as Moscow’s apparent sabotage of its own production to punish Europe for supporting Ukraine. (It’s not just the Nord Stream pipeline mysteriously blowing up but lots of questionable “maintenance” slowing the Russian energy flow.) Third, supply chain disruptions and the pressures on international shipping have only added to oil prices.
And to the extent that some of price increases result from price gouging by oil companies, rather than “market forces,” experience teaches us that Republican sure as shootin’ won’t do anything about that.