Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell became the latest Republican Thursday to criticize President Biden for labeling high prices at the pump as part of an “incredible transition” toward clean, renewable energy.
“That’s a heck of a way to describe his administration’s war on the most affordable, reliable and abundant forms of energy in our country,” the Kentucky lawmaker said on the floor.
Demand is expected to spike in the coming days with travelers hitting the roads for the Memorial Day weekend. The national average held steady Thursday at an all-time high of $4.60 per gallon — 47 cents more than a month ago, and $1.56 higher than one year ago, according to AAA.
During a diplomatic trip in Japan earlier in the week, Mr. Biden suggested that bloated energy costs would help promote the transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.
It prompted criticism from Republicans who accused the president of saying the quiet part out loud: high gas prices are beneficial to Democrats’ climate agenda.
“When it comes to the gas prices, we are going through an incredible transition that is taking place, that God-willing, when it is over, we’ll be stronger, and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. McConnell, referring to suggestions from administration officials that now would be an opportune time to switch to an electric vehicle or that the U.S. should export more oil from countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia or Iran, placed blame squarely on the president and Democrats in Washington.
“Forcing fuel prices so high that it requires measures to transition to more expensive cars with supply chains controlled primarily by China and others whose regimes have lower labor and environmental standards is not my idea of incredible,” he said. “The pain at the pump is only one of the tangled consequences of Washington Democrats’ radical policies and reckless spending.”
Patrick De Haan, founder of the fuel-price tracking service GasBuddy, predicted demand will rise 7%-10% Thursday compared to one week ago, as a result of the upcoming holiday.
Prices are expected to remain elevated through the busy summer driving season. Industry analysts and experts have said that the war in Ukraine, coupled with America’s refining capacity hitting its limits, have exacerbated a global supply shortage coming out of the pandemic.