Fact Check: House GOP Wrongly Blames Biden Over Gasoline Prices | New
WASHINGTON (AP) – As Memorial Day travel weekend approaches, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of his party are wrongly accusing President Joe Biden of the rising costs of gasoline and wood.
Gas prices have risen in recent weeks because a key pipeline was forced to shut down after a cyberattack on the Colonial pipeline. And timber shortages – which existed under the administration of former President Donald Trump – have been compounded by an unexpected real estate boom.
Shortages plagued the economy this spring, but most economists attribute most of it to the difficulties in restarting the US and global economies.
A look at the claims and the reality:
MCCARTHY: “Gas prices are the highest since 2014 – just early summer. The recent Colonial pipeline hack exposed the flaws in Biden’s approach to our nation’s energy policies. day one, he signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. ” – blog post on Monday.
REPRESENTATIVE. LIZ CHENEY, R-Wyoming: “From the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline to the ban on new leasing of oil and gas on federal lands, Biden’s energy policies are having devastating consequences. We’ve already seen a glimpse of this devastation with skyrocketing prices and gas shortages hitting communities. across the country. ” – tweet Friday.
THE FACTS: Biden’s action on the Keystone XL pipeline has nothing to do with the recent spike in gasoline prices. The pipeline handles crude oil from Canada to Texas through the Midwest, not gasoline, which experienced shortages on the East Coast after the Colonial Pipeline hack.
Biden’s order on day one in office canceled the building permit for an extension of the Keystone Main Pipeline, which is still in service and stretches approximately 2,687 miles (4,324 km) from Alberta to Illinois and in Texas.
An expanded 1,947 km pipeline was planned to allow the system to transport up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
But crude oil shortages were not a factor.
It should be noted that while gasoline prices are at their highest level in six years, oil prices are still slightly lower than they were in 2018. This suggests that oil supplies are adequate and that refining and distributing gasoline – through networks such as the Colonial pipeline – is the problem.
MCCARTHY: “Although gasoline prices hit historic lows around this time last year, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is currently $ 3.10. since 2014, the last time Joe Biden was in the White House. ” – blog post on Monday.
Republicans on the House Budget Committee: “Biden’s policies led to the highest gas prices in six years.” – tweet Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Biden’s policies are not the source of the price increases. Gas prices are on the rise amid a rapid and unexpected rebound in demand and continued problems with the forced shutdown earlier this month of the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast .
McCarthy’s comparison to a year ago is also misleading. Gasoline prices did not go down at the time because of the Trump administration, as Trump often claims; they have taken the plunge due to the coronavirus forcing people to abandon their offices, schools, business trips and vacations. Highlighting the link with the end of the pandemic, gas prices in the United States were at an all-time low in April 2020, as people stayed at home the most, but have mostly increased since then, according to US Energy Information Administration, even when Trump was still in power.
The most significant factor in recent weeks has been the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. Even though it has been operational again for almost two weeks, many states, mostly in the South, have yet to fully recover.
About a quarter of gas stations in North and South Carolina and Georgia are gas-free, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks gasoline prices nationwide. In Florida, 9% of stations are sold out and in Tennessee, it’s 14%. Overall, more than 6,000 stations are sold out, explains Patrick DeHaan of Gas Buddy.
Prices also rose because the economy reopened much faster than most analysts expected. Stimulus payments to American households, including the $ 1,400 checks distributed in March, helped Americans increase spending.
RONNA MCDANIEL, head of the Republican National Committee: “… Wood prices have increased by 400%. We have real problems … (Speaker of the House, Nancy) Pelosi will do everything not to talk about Biden’s failures . ” – tweet on May 20.
THE FACTS: She is also wrong to link rising lumber prices to Biden’s “failures.” This peak is also linked to growing demand and a strong economic recovery.
At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, sawmills actually cut lumber production, predicting new home sales to slow, according to economists at TD Bank. Instead, Americans – and families in other countries – looked for more room during quarantine and bought new homes or looked to renovate. This pushed up the demand for lumber, even as the supply was reduced, pushing up lumber prices.
The National Home Builders Association pointed to insufficient domestic production dating back to Trump for the increases.
“When prices started their historic rise in August 2020, the NAHB reached out widely to the Trump administration, members of Congress and sawmills to demand swift action to address supply shortages that are hurting small businesses, builders. of homes and, ultimately, the economy at large, “and continues to do so under the Biden administration, according to the group’s website.
Some of the price increases for lumber and other commodities reflect strong consumer demand for goods like housing and cars, which is actually a good sign for the economy. Most officials at the Federal Reserve, the agency responsible for keeping inflation under control, have repeatedly said inflation will accelerate as the country reopens, but increases will likely be temporary, as bottlenecks supply bottlenecks will be resolved.
Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.