This year's annual Memorial Day Weekend 'gasoline price outlook' is decidedly grim.
The American Automobile Association reports that prices are at their highest level in seven years. [i] A spokesman for the smartphone app GasBuddy says gas prices are elevated because demand "has come roaring back."[ii] This year's prices of above $3 per gallon are a far cry from a year ago when in the middle of the COVID lockdown, prices remained below $2 per gallon.[iii]
Not just gas prices are higher. The Labor Department reported earlier this month that consumer prices had surged 4.2% higher when compared with a year ago.[iv]
Who's to blame for higher energy prices?
The so-called independent media fact-checkers pushed back when some Republicans pointed to Biden Administration energy policies. According to Politifact: "The price movement we're seeing now on both diesel and gas isn't related to Biden's policy changes, experts say." [v] Fresh from their embedded coverage in Gaza shielding Hamas, the Associated Press made a similar argument.[vi]
To reach this conclusion, Politifact labored mightily to explain away the impact on prices of various policies that they acknowledge will make oil and gas more scarce and more expensive. Politifact opted to ignore Biden's participation in the Obama Administration. So, while obliquely acknowledging that Biden's policies would raise prices, they concluded that his actions this year could not have been felt so quickly.
The Democratic defense, echoed by the media, that energy prices could not have gone up so quickly just because of the most recent policy changes, willfully chooses to ignore that a consistent, continuing long-term consequence of "progressive" energy policies is to make it more expensive.
To be sure, it was only in January that President Biden reversed President Trump’s Keystone pipeline greenlight. However, the Bush Administration issued a permit in 2008 authorizing its construction, maintenance, and operation. Then the Obama-Biden Administration chose to stall the project for the next eight years.
A nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report in 2014 concluded on railroad transportation of crude oil that: "railroad transport reportedly costs in the neighborhood of $10 to $15 per barrel compared with $5 per barrel for a pipeline." That report also said the Keystone pipeline "could move a significant proportion" of crude oil shipments "off the rails, as pipeline transportation is likely to cost less per barrel." That difference translates into a saving of up to 24 cents a gallon. Lower costs also come with enhanced safety. Pipelines are the safest transport method, safer than road, rail, or barge, as measured by incidents, injuries, and fatalities.[vii]
Yet another way to compare the more extended consequences of Democratic energy policies is to compare Blue-state and Red-state consumer electric prices.
Climate change policies mandating the use of less reliable, more expensive renewables, higher taxes, and other regulations drive these higher prices.
The bottom line is that the sticker price for the energy policies advanced by progressives, such as President Biden, is higher -- much, much higher.
[viii] The Energy Information Administration estimates the average customer usage at 12,000 kWh