After White House Touted Paltry Drop in Gas Prices, Experts Say Prices Expected to Rise

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Posted: Jan 01, 2022 2:45 PM
After White House Touted Paltry Drop in Gas Prices, Experts Say Prices Expected to Rise

Source: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

It's hard to forget that Democrats and the Biden administration actually bragged about the paltry decrease in gas prices. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) last month tweeted out a distorted graph to make it seem impressive that drivers saved two cents. Then, a few weeks later, the White House included gas prices in their memo detailing how Biden supposedly got "an enormous amount done." The mention of gas prices made it into the final version as well. It turns out the White House is going to be eating some crow on that one, since experts believe it's likely gas prices will rise.

Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy on Thursday told Fox Business' "Varney & Co" that not only will gas prices rise for the first half of the year, but the national average could get to $4 per gallon by Memorial Day. In California, the average could get to over $5 per gallon. 

De Haan also tweeted out a fuel outlook for major cities. Sure enough, Los Angeles could get to $5.45 per gallon, while Sacramento could reach $5.25 and San Francisco could reach $5.65 per gallon. 

During the segment, De Haan cited issues with refinery capacity and how" the price of oil continues to go up, Omicron less severe than anticipated, and that will likely boost demand further along in 2022." 

Refiners remain a key issue. "Refineries have modernized in recent years, but the economics are not getting any better," De Haan indicated. "With the administration’s clear move away from fossil fuels, you wonder if there will be much investment in the U.S. in refining capacity." 

"I think most of the refining capacity that we see added will probably be in the Middle East or Asia in coming years, so this is a problem that in the spring could result in gas prices reaching that $4 dollar mark," he continued. 

While gas prices will decrease by the later half of the year, De Haan said "still, at the end of 2022, we're still talking about prices that may not get under that $3 mark."

De Haan also pointed out that the average household is going to be paying $2,400 on gasoline is a high not seen since 2014. "Higher gas prices are likely to stick around," he shared. 

Writing for The Hill on Thursday, Rachel Frazin discussed potential political fallout, noting in her headline that the projections "complicate Biden's horizons." As she wrote, "Prices at the higher end in particular would be an unwelcome development for Democrats in a midterm election year where they are already worried about losing their House and Senate majorities."

Even some Democrats are worried, though they somehow think Democrats might turn out okay. Republicans have placed the blame on Democrats:

Ahmad Ali, press secretary for progressive pollster Data for Progress, raised concerns that even if the prices fall later on, Democrats will have to contend with people being “riled and energized because of them increasing in the first place.”

But, he said, the party should combat this by focusing on economic issues themselves.

“So long as the message becomes clear that the presidency and the Democrats are all about making the burden at peoples’ pocketbooks easier, I’m sure that they can keep their support,” he said.

Republicans are expected to go on the attack against Biden and Democrats if prices rise, as they already have been doing.

Asked how the price news impacts its 2022 strategy, a National Republican Campaign Committee spokesperson argued that Democrats should get the blame.

“Democrats have absolutely no credibility left on the issue of rising prices after they spent months claiming inflation was transitory,” Mike Berg, a spokesman for the Republicans’ House campaign arm, wrote in an email.

And, it's not just De Haan predicting a price increase:

Other analysts, too, predict a rise in prices for the start of next year.

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, attributed the issue to a reduced capacity to refine gasoline — lowering supply.

“Notwithstanding another variant ... we’re going to see excessively high prices in 2022,” he told The Hill on Tuesday. “It’s going to run up, I’d say, between Presidents’ Day and Cinco de Mayo.”

In covering the "Varney & Co" segment for Fox Business, Talia Kaplan pointed to how gas prices this time last year were an average price of $2.25 per gallon, citing AAA.

Gas prices under President Donald Trump were on average $2.57 per gallon from 2017 to 2020, as Alex J. Rouhandeh pointed out for Newsweek in October, citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). "Americans are Paying $144 Million More for Gas Per Day Under Biden Than Under Trump," the headline read.