(USNewsMag.com) – Inflation has been soaring over the last year, with no relief in sight. As of March, it hit 8.5%, a 40-year high, and Americans are feeling it everywhere. The prices of gas, food, clothing and vehicles have soared, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) released. While Americans are feeling the pinch in their wallets, they’re looking to President Joe Biden who claims he’s doing everything he can to lower the costs at the pump. However, rather than easing his constituents’ minds, it’s sounding like a cacophony of excuses to them.
Gas Prices Soar
Rising gas prices are nothing new, they ebb and flow depending on several factors such as production, refining costs, taxes and distribution. However, they’ve been notoriously high for the last several months because of inflation, with the national average sitting at over $4 per gallon of regular unleaded fuel. While prices have declined an average of $0.251 over the last month, it’s not enough to stop the hurt, especially when the average price for a gallon of regular gas is over a dollar more than it was this time last year.
Biden Blames Putin
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, there was an immediate impact on the costs of fuel and food worldwide. While some of it may have been momentary panic, the fact prices were rising before that and they continue to remain high more than seven weeks after the invasion shows there’s more going on.
On Tuesday, April 12, while speaking at POET Bioprocessing, a corn ethanol producing facility in Menlo, Iowa, Biden said “70% of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike for gasoline.” He was referencing the March 2022 ban on imports of Russian oil, coal and liquified natural gas. However, the amount of fuel the United States imports from Russia is under 10%, so placing the blame solely on an invasion when prices were high before the war isn’t flying.
Measures to Combat Price Hikes
To help combat the prices, Biden announced he was authorizing the use of E15 gasoline. That’s fuel produced using homegrown biofuels, and contains a 15% ethanol blend. According to the White House, it will save Americans an average of $0.10 per gallon at the pumps beginning this summer and will be available at 2,300 gas stations. To make it widely available, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to issue a waiver that will permit its use from June 1 to September 15. There are also discussions in the works to make it available year-round.
Additionally, on the same day Biden announced this authorization, he also spoke about achieving energy independence in a plan that provides up to $700 million in funding for biofuel producers. It also provides $5.6 million in funding to expand infrastructure for renewable fuels and $100 million for investing in biofuels infrastructure.
Whether these measures will play out remains to be seen. June is still nearly two months away and for the interim, Americans are still stuck with high costs at the pump — and everywhere else.
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