That government existing to better the lives of its citizens is self-evident. Happiness can be an elusive pursuit, of course, and leaders are no less likely to zig when they should have zagged than the imperfect folks who choose them. Americans give their chief executive four years to discover the path to betterment, but their patience quickly wears thin when the trouble is intentional. President Biden has launched a flotilla of hardships during his first year in office, but few as harmful as the breakneck surge in fuel prices.
The 230 million Americans who drive spent the past year cringing at the sight of gas station signs flashing an average price of $3.02 per gallon. Fuel price analysts at Gas Buddy warn the worst is yet to come. In 2022, the average is forecast to bolt higher to $3.41 and could reach $4 a gallon by spring. With prices currently hovering around $3.29 nationwide and with trend-setting California already cracking through the stratospheric level of $4.66, the possibility is looking extremely likely.
The extra dollar a gallon hike over a year ago is on course to pilfer consumers’ pockets for an extra $80 billion, raising the nation’s gas bill to nearly $485 billion during 2022. Some happy new year.
In December, when prices were slightly less jaw-dropping, the Pew Research Center pointed out that the nation has endured a long history of gas price spikes. For example, the $4.11 Americans paid for gas in 2008 would have cost $5.20 in today’s dollars.
It is a painful reminder rendered all the more maddening by the realization that by electing Mr. Biden, voters made the fateful decision to rehire the Obama cadre who made those gas prices good and high, including then-Vice President Biden himself.
Viewing the turn of events as simply misfortune is to ignore the deliberate steps Mr. Biden has taken to instigate the price surge: The president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which, incidentally, triggered a lawsuit from the project builder seeking $15 billion in damages. Promising as a candidate “no more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period,” he ordered a temporary halt of oil and gas drilling permits on government property.
Thankfully, a federal court blocked the executive order, but the energy industry heard the message: Fossil fuels are to be phased out. Choosing not to throw good money after bad, companies have responded to the 2020 pandemic energy-use slowdown by opting out of renewed drilling operations. Consequently, active wells across the nation totaled 991 in September — down from the pre-pandemic 2019 average of 1,253, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Willfully squeezing-off fossil fuels threatens the well-being of the nation. The president’s 43% approval rating quantifies his abysmal leadership. A year on, Americans are starting to roll up their sleeves — not for vaccinations — but to throw Team Biden out of office.