According to AAA’s gas price estimator, average gas prices in the United States hit a new high on Thursday, after Republican senators lambasted the Biden administration for a “de facto ban on new drilling.”
Early Thursday morning, the national average expense of a normal gallon of gasoline was $4.589. This price exceeded Wednesday’s earlier record of $4.567, which was greater than Tuesday’s high of $4.523, which was larger than Monday’s record of $4.470.
The cost will come as the European Union considers putting oil sanctions against Russia in response to the Kremlin’s occupation of Ukraine. It also comes at a time of record-high prices, with the price index hitting 8.3% in April, close to the 40-year peak set in March. Last week, the Department of the Interior withdrew an oil & gas lease auction for almost 1 million hectares in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, citing a “lack of industry interest.” Two Gulf of Mexico leases were also terminated by the DOI, as reported.
The White House has accused Russian President Putin of the country’s record-high gas prices, dubbing the rise the “#PutinPriceHike” and promising that President Joe Biden will do everything in his power to protect the American people from “pain at the pump.”
Last month, Biden said that beginning this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency will approve the sale of E15 gasoline, which has a 15% ethanol blend. For the next six months, Biden has pushed to discharge 1 million gallons of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In order to encourage new production, the president is also urging Congress to levy fees on idled oil wells & non-producing acres of federal land.
However, some have alleged that Biden’s energy plans have created a market “supply problem.”
Twenty Republican senators, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have written to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, requesting that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issue licenses promptly so that existing offshore federal oil and gas leases can be expanded.
“While the Biden Administration and Members of Congress fault the domestic oil and gas industry for sitting idle on over 9,000 drilling permits and millions of acres in ‘inactive leases’, NMFS’s permitting delays represent one example of the Administration’s de facto ban on new drilling – impeding domestic oil and gas investment, exploration, and production,” the senators authored.
The senators blamed the delays on “three administration-made and accepted mistakes” in estimating the number of threatened animals in the Gulf of Mexico for a final rule governing offshore oil & gas production in 2021.
“It is unacceptable that agency miscalculations have restricted access to safe, secure, and reliable domestic oil and gas production through substantial, unnecessary, and arbitrary permitting delays,” they continued.