Biden Administration’s Answer to Energy Costs: Even Higher Prices

October 25, 2021

By Andrew Wheeler

By Andrew Wheeler

Last Thursday, during a town hall meeting, President Joe Biden admitted that he didn’t see gasoline prices going down until 2022, saying that addressing gas prices “is going to be hard” and “depends a little bit on Saudi Arabia and a few other things ‘in the offing.’” This is the disturbing answer of a presidential administration facing the harsh reality of promising to lead the United States to a “clean energy revolution” by returning with renewed vigor to the same tired policies of excessive reliance on government interference and heavy-handed regulation that have consistently failed in the past.

The consequences of this decidedly unimaginative approach are predictable. Earlier this month, the Biden Administration predicted that home heating prices this winter will increase by 54%. The fact is, energy prices will likely continue to rise because that is the logical conclusion of the Biden administration’s energy and environmental policies.

President Biden and Congressional Democrats have pledged to end fossil fuels here in the U.S. and they are moving forward with legislation and a suffocating regulatory agenda to try to accomplish this goal. While Americans pay more for gasoline, home energy, and products across the supply chain, the Biden administration and Congressional Democrats’ answer is to limit access to drilling, propose strict regulations to make production more costly, and increase their taxes while also denying the industry tax credits and access to capital afforded to other sectors.

This is already having a devastating impact on lower income families, senior citizens, and others on fixed incomes. Households that make less than $25,000 a year already spend approximately a quarter of their disposable income on energy, and the Biden Administration seems to have no problem forcing them to choose between gasoline for their car to get to work, heating their homes, or putting food on the table.

But surely the suffering—disproportionately borne by America’s most vulnerable–is a necessary sacrifice for a greater cause? After all, “revolution” requires sacrifice. However, faced with the political reality of high energy prices, the Biden administration’s answer, in addition to increasing domestic energy costs, is to ask OPEC to produce more oil. Apparently, the Biden administration’s commitment to the cause only extends so as far as limiting the long-term production of domestic energy. Energy produced for our return to dependence on the OPEC block, Russia, and other foreign fuel sources is fine.

If you are confused by this blatant hypocrisy, it may help to realize that the Biden Administration does not have a planned conclusion to the “clean energy revolution” that has a foundation in reality. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry’s answer to the technology he thinks necessary for addressing climate change is “we haven’t discovered that yet.” The Biden administration’s plan consists of stifling domestic innovation with regulation and relying upon solar and wind technologies that are dependent on Chinese supply chains. Not to mention that a good portion of the environmental activists, to which the Biden administration is beholden, oppose development of any kind, including the “green” energy the Biden administration is promising to come to the rescue—in just one example, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council expressed opposition to infrastructure as basic as “road improvements.”

No matter how you look at it, the Biden administration is sinking the ship, with no plan to right it. The best they have offered is begging our enemies to hand us a couple life preservers. Can you blame them for refusing and in turn benefiting themselves?

This approach is not only bad for American energy producers and consumers, but also environmentally backwards. The U.S. sets the gold standards for environmental regulations world-wide. Oil transported by tanker half-way around the world has a much higher carbon footprint than oil produced here at home. The United States has already decreased our carbon emissions 12% and methane emissions 15% since 2005. At the same time, China is building fifty large coal-fired power plants a year with over 300 in the pipeline, and you can bet that they won’t match the rigorous environmental standards of plants here in the U.S. Further, American natural gas is already produced in the most environmentally friendly manner of any of our foreign competitors.

America needs energy, and Americans are the best people to provide it. It is time that the Biden administration understand that not only are American energy independence, environmental progress, and prosperity not mutually exclusive, they are mutually necessary. The Biden administration must stop punishing the American people with its play-acting at revolution and get a real plan that works. If they don’t, Americans will continue to pay the price.

Andrew Wheeler serves as Chairman, Center for the Environment for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).