President Joe Biden’s call for a three-month suspension of the 18-cent federal gas tax in response to soaring gas prices has, thankfully, landed with a bipartisan thud in Congress. The idea, an old fallback for politicians when pump prices rise, is virtually always a bad one, providing meager relief to motorists while blowing major holes in highway budgets. The administration should let this notion sputter out.
Today’s record gas prices are primarily the result of the global oil industry cutting production during the pandemic and then getting caught in short supply with the surge in demand as people have started traveling again. Russia’s war in Ukraine has exacerbated those factors.
What experts say hasn’t contributed are the Biden administration’s environmentally minded energy policies, because they have either been tied up in court or haven’t been as environmentally minded as advertised. It might surprise the blame-Biden contingent to learn that drilling permits on federal lands were increased so dramatically under Biden last year, as compared to the Trump administration, that environmental groups are now suing.