The White House acknowledged Wednesday that President Joe Biden was not trying to increase domestic oil production to help lower gas prices in the United States.
During the White House daily briefing, Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki whether Biden was considering ways to increase domestic oil production, after sending a public letter to OPEC nations to increase production of foreign oil.
“The point we have made in these communications is that we’re not making a supply question here — or we’re not posing a supply question domestically,” she said. “Obviously, OPEC has its own unique role on the global marketplace.”
Psaki argued that gas prices were higher than they were in 2020 but still around normal.
“Now, gas prices are still aligned with where they were back in 2018,” she said, adding that “they often go up in the summer; we’ve seen that trend over and over again.”
The price of gas has skyrocketed since prices dipped during the 2020 summer during the coronavirus pandemic.
New inflation numbers released on Wednesday showed the cost of gas up 41.8 percent from July 2020.
The Biden administration tasked National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to urge OPEC nations to increase their production.
“The price of crude oil has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic,” he wrote in a statement released Wednesday morning, warning that “unchecked” gas costs could risk the global economic recovery.
Biden also delivered a mixed message on gas prices, noting that “gas prices are lower than they were early in this decade.”
“I want to make sure that nothing stands in the way of oil price declines leading to lower prices for consumers,” he said during a speech at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.
He signaled his administration would monitor the gasoline market to make sure there was not “any illegal conduct” keeping prices high.
Biden also noted that his child tax credit for families would help Americans suffering from the high prices at the pump.
“These are some of the immediate steps we are taking to put more money in your pocket and make that money go further,” he said.
Republicans mocked the White House struggle to address higher gas prices, noting that the Biden administration closed the Keystone pipeline and put a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
“President Biden canceled an American pipeline on Day One. Seven months later, he is now begging OPEC to pump more oil,” wrote House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on social media. “We could have been more energy independent. We could have developed it cleaner. And with American workers. But Biden would rather put America last.”