A then-and-now cartoon swirling around the internet shows an irate driver blaming President Biden for high gas prices. But the second panel by Wisconsin cartoonist Phil Hands offers something different when a woman says to the man, “Gas prices are coming down. Is Biden responsible for that?” The driver, clearly unbothered by his initial reaction, remarks, “Of course not. The price of gas is determined by a complex global marketplace that can’t be controlled by one man.”
Biden never has been to blame for rising gas prices around the world. As our country engaged in the war in Ukraine, he steadily warned the prices would rise some. But Republicans, chomping at the bit to score political points despite outright fictions, said gas prices rose because of the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline (that wouldn’t bring any oil to the U.S. for domestic consumption), a temporary halt to drilling on public lands and every other kind of reason under the sun. All incorrect. All misleading.
Unfortunately, gullible voters bit on the fake news and misinformation and chipped away at our democracy. Biden’s popularity dipped.
What Americans should realize is gas prices have been relatively low in the United States for years. Only now are Americans paying what people around the world have been paying for years — and now their gas prices are even higher than ours.
In the last month in South Carolina, the average price of gas has dropped 45 cents to $4.14 per gallon, according to a broad survey by GasBuddy. And while that’s $1.29 per gallon more than a year ago, look at prices now in other parts of the world. Last week when the average national gas price was $5.05 per gallon, it was $6.43 per gallon in Canada, $7.27 in Germany, $8 in France, $8.47 in Sweden and $8.78 in the United Kingdom, according to GlobalPetrolPrices.com.
While Big Oil continues to make outlandish quarterly profits and should be held accountable for high gas prices, we must accept the fact that we’ve paid comparatively low prices for gasoline for years. With the way the economy and global markets are going, it’s unlikely gas prices will come down soon to cheap levels of just a few years ago.
So what can you do about it? Conserve energy. Carpool. Drive less. Keep your vehicle maintained. Inflate tires to proper levels. Don’t drive with a full tank so you don’t carry around a bunch of extra weight.
Or you could consider swapping your gas guzzler for a hybrid or a model that gets vastly better mileage. Or switch to an increasingly popular electric vehicle, which some say are reaching a tipping point of acceptance in the American market. (There are even electric trucks now!)
Energy is a vexing, hot-button topic. But let’s point fingers in the right direction — and take some personal responsibility to lower the amounts of gas we use.
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