N.C. hits all-time high gas price of $4.20 as Biden cancels more oil leases

Carolina Journal photo by Mitch Kokai

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  • Consumer prices climbed 8.3% last month from one year ago.
  • The average price for mid-grade gas in NC is $4.20 per gallon.

On May 12, as gas prices in N.C. hit a record high of $4.202 per gallon and the U.S. hit a record of $4.418, according to AAA, President Joe Biden’s administration canceled three potential leases for oil and gas drilling on a million acres in Alaska’s Cooke Inlet. In a statement, the Department of the Interior cited “lack of industry interest” and limited inquiries from oil companies on the lease. But industry insiders say that there is a breakdown between the administration and the petroleum industry that prevents providers from increasing production.

The decision comes just days after Biden’s comments that consumer prices are his “top economic priority.”

Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, told The Hill that the Biden administration “needs to send a clear, consistent message to the marketplace [that] the United States is open to oil and gas development.”

With gas prices now at an all-time high, a new poll shows that 82% of likely voters are concerned about gas prices and 60% would support a law that dramatically increases oil and gas drilling in the U.S.

The grassroots libertarian organization Americans for Prosperity is targeting nine states with a campaign to capitalize on the voter concern, reminding people what life would be like without higher gas prices. For an hour and a half in early May at the Pit Stop Gas Station in Greensboro, AFP lowered gas prices to the national average of the day that President Biden took office, $2.38 a gallon. Before the event, gas prices were $3.99 a gallon.

“Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff tried to brush off inflation as a high-class issue,” said AFP-NC’s state director Chris McCoy, “As you can see from the enthusiasm and gratitude of motorists in Greensboro, inflation is hurting low- and fixed-income Americans the most.”

The Greensboro gas event kicked off Americans for Prosperity’s nationwide True Costs of Washington Campaign. It is the first of nine events across nine states throughout the course of 2022. The purpose is to show the public how Washington’s decisions have affected the daily lives of the American people, and to promote policies AFP says could be the solution to rising inflation. 

It did not take long for dozens of cars to line up for the lowered gas prices. As motorists filled their tanks they shared experiences about how inflation has changed the way they live their lives, having to cut back expenses to afford groceries and other necessities affected by high inflation. The lowered gas prices came as a great surprise to many drivers, especially one driver whose truck ran out of gas as he pulled into the gas station. 

By the end of the event, AFP paid for more than 1,500 gallons of gas, saving drivers a total of $2,415. The AFP’s donation to the community comes as a statement about how wasteful spending and burdensome regulations can impact the lives of the average American. 

In his comments on Tuesday, Biden blames the historically high inflation on “Putin’s Price Hike,” saying, “Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, thinks differently, “The most effective thing Joe Biden can do to solve the inflation crisis he created is resign. He’s the problem. Getting him out of office is a quick and easy solution.” 

Americans for Prosperity hopes their events give people something tangible while discussing solutions to inflation.

“It’s time for Washington to stop runaway spending and issuing regulations that hamstring domestic energy production,” said McCoy.

AFP’s next event will be in Dayton, Ohio, on May 13.