The White House does not currently plan to take action to alleviate gas prices that have surged to seven-year highs in recent days, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday.
Jean-Pierre said Biden administration officials are actively monitoring the global fuel shortage and considering ways to address the situation. The average cost of gas has reached $3.24 per gallon, an increase of more than $1 compared to one year ago.
“The reality is we continue to monitor global energy market supply and we’ll work with our agency partners to determine if and when actions are needed,” Jean-Piere said. “For example, after gasoline prices diverged from crude prices this summer, the administration reached out to the FTC to ask them to investigate anti-corruption practices in the oil and gas industry, including collusive pricing, and the FTC responded.”
“We will continue to look for ways to relieve the burden of energy costs on the American families, but we have no announcement at this time,” she added.
Energy production has trailed behind rising demand for petroleum products in recent days as the U.S. economy and other nations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply shortfalls have prompted speculation that crude oil prices could reach $100 per barrel in the coming weeks.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested during an interview with the Financial Times that the Biden administration could consider a release of emergency oil reserves to curtail surging prices. A Department of Energy spokesperson later noted there were “no plans at this time” to take that step.
Surging gas prices present a potential political liability for the Biden administration amid concerns regarding higher consumer prices in the current economy.
Jean-Pierre argued the gas price surge was evidence the U.S. should pursue new energy sources. Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill would include major investments in green energy.
“What I want to say is that this situation really underscores the continued need to diversify our energy and fuel sources,” Jean-Pierre said. “We can’t take our eye off the ball, as you can imagine, so we must invest and deploy in clean energy solutions at home and around the world to strengthen both energy security and mitigate economic volatility.”