White House weighing steps to address gas shortages
The White House is discussing options to address fuel and natural gas shortages that have driven prices higher, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday.
“The president has asked his economic team, as they do on any range of issues impacting the public, to continue to discuss what the options are that we can take to address these shortages,” Psaki said at an afternoon briefing.
Psaki noted that there is a natural gas shortage worldwide and said there are a “range” of options for the Biden administration to explore to help address the issue, but she declined to specify what options are currently being discussed.
“I’m not in a position yet to outline additional steps we can take,” she said.
Bloomberg News reported that Biden administration officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met Tuesday night to discuss rising fuel and natural gas prices.
The meeting was reportedly part of talks among the group of officials, who also include deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo, White House climate advisers Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, White House economic adviser Brian Deese and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
For weeks, European countries have been facing energy price spikes that have raised utility prices for consumers there.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., there has also been difficulty getting gasoline for their cars amid a shortage of truck drivers.
In the U.S., gasoline prices, which dropped to severe lows at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, have been rising throughout the year as the economy turned back on.
The national average of gasoline prices stood at $3.288 per gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA, up from a low of $1.77 in April 2020 towards the beginning of the pandemic.
The price of gasoline and fell significantly during the pandemic as people traveled less than normal, and at least part of the global rebound in fuel prices has been attributed to more vaccination and fewer pandemic-related restrictions.
Options the Biden administration could take to address the situation domestically could entail releasing crude oil from the U.S. emergency stockpile or restricting exports to other countries, though the latter could rankle allies in Europe.
Meanwhile, new data released by the Labor Department on Wednesday showed that consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in the month of September and 5.4 percent over the past year, reflecting sharp increases in food, energy and shelter costs.