Gas prices reached a national average of $4.72 per gallon on Thursday, another record high that comes as fuel costs have nearly doubled since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
On the day of his inauguration, fuel prices stood at just $2.39 per gallon, according to AAA. Since then, prices have increased sharply due to high inflation, a surge in demand, and fallout amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The record-high prices also come at the start of summer driving season, when prices are expected to climb even higher. Analysts predict drivers could pay more than $5 a gallon this summer, and JPMorgan analysts have forecasted a national average that could climb as high as $6.20 per gallon by August.
Speaking at the White House yesterday, Biden said there is little his administration can do in the short term to alleviate the spike in fuel prices, which he acknowledged are unlikely to fall anytime soon.
“The idea we’re going to be able to, you know, click a switch and bring down the cost of gasoline is not likely in the near term, nor is it with regard to food,” Biden said, speaking after an event with baby formula manufacturers.
“We can’t take immediate action, that I’m aware of yet, to figure out how to bring down the price of gasoline back to $3 a gallon — and we can’t do that immediately with regard to food prices, either,” he added. ”But we can compensate by providing for other necessary costs for families, by bringing those down. That reduces the cost of inflation for that family.”
The record-high prices come despite a flurry of efforts from the White House to reassure the public that the administration is conscious of the high prices and will take steps to alleviate the pain.
To that end, Biden has called on U.S. oil and gas producers to ramp up production, announced the release of 180 million barrels of oil from the U.S. emergency stockpile, the largest one-time release since the reserve’s creation in 1974, and sought to characterize the high prices as an extension of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, referring to the soaring costs on multiple occasions as “Putin’s price hike.”