Gas prices rose to unprecedented levels this summer, peaking at $5.02 a gallon on average in June. Since then, prices have decreased slightly to $3.89 a gallon. In response, the Biden administration and mainstream media outlets have been touting this decrease as a win for consumers. CNN went so far as to suggest the price drop was the equivalent of a “tax cut” or “$100-a-month raise.” As many Americans are feeling financially strained and looking for relief, it’s worth digging into this claim: Is a small drop in gas prices truly resulting in a $100 raise?
White House Communications Staff
False. Completely make believe.
This statement is not only wrong but extremely misleading. While gas prices have experienced a slight reprieve, they remain high. In January 2021 when President Biden officially took office, gas prices averaged $2.39 a gallon. The average price today, at $3.89 represents a 62% increase.
Persistent inflation continues to make the price of everyday goods and groceries unaffordable for many Americans. In July the consumer price index remained at a 40-year high of 8.5%. The price of eggs is up 38%; milk is up 15.6%; and baby formula, if you can find it, is up 15%. Additionally, inflation continues to wipe out wage gains. One analysis found that the average American household spent $717 more in July alone due to inflation. So much for a $100 “raise.”
As high-cost gas and groceries continue to take their toll on American pocketbooks, consumers are cutting back, especially on travel. According to the Energy Information Administration, gas demand recently dropped from 9.25 million barrels per day to 8.54 million per day last week—a level not seen since Covid restrictions kept people in their houses and off the road. This drop in demand is one reason gas prices have slightly declined. Releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve announced in April are another contributing factor. Some analysts are concerned, however, that when this planned release ends in October, prices will go back up and the reserve itself, which is meant to maintain fuel supplies during unplanned disruptions like natural disasters, will be depleted to levels not seen since the 1980s.
Democrats are running up against a political problem. With inflation, expensive gas, and an increasingly unpopular president, they are desperate for “wins” to sell to the American people. This $100 benefit is nothing more than a poor attempt at a political ruse.