'If we're really talking about the bottom line, the balancing of the checkbook of an American family, there are lots of things that are way more under our control than the dynamics of global oil markets at a time when an oil-producing country is going to war,' Buttigieg said
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Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg suggested Tuesday that other priorities are more important than lowering gas prices as he claimed that prices at the pump are ‘outside the direct control of any political figure.’ 

‘If we’re really talking about the bottom line, the balancing of the checkbook of an American family, there are lots of things that are way more under our control than the dynamics of global oil markets at a time when an oil-producing country is going to war,’ Buttigieg said, focusing blame for gas prices over $4 a gallon on Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.  

He noted that the ‘long term solution’ to high gas prices is renewable energy.  

‘It continues to be important to keep options open,’ Buttigieg said of reducing gas prices. ‘Of course the long-term solution to this is energy independence and a shift to renewable energy here in this country.’ 

Gas prices had already been on the rise well before Putin’s invasion – in November Biden released 50 million barrels of oil to alleviate prices that at the time had reached $3.39 a gallon, up $1.27 from the year prior.   

In a historic shift, the U.S. became a net exporter of energy for the first time in decades in 2019. It held that status again in 2020, but in 2021 consumed about a billion more barrels of oil than it produced. Imports of crude oil from Russia surged 162 percent in Biden’s first year in office, from 28 million barrels per year to 73 million. 

Still, the U.S. only relies on Russia for between 3 and 5% of its crude oil, but Europe is far more reliant, exacerbating the cost at the pump across the globe. 

‘Let’s also remember that while oil prices and gas prices are famously something that is largely outside of of the direct control of any political figure, there are a lot of things we could be doing right now that would bring direct relief to the pocketbooks of American families that are greater than most any family’s gasoline bill.’  

'If we're really talking about the bottom line, the balancing of the checkbook of an American family, there are lots of things that are way more under our control than the dynamics of global oil markets at a time when an oil-producing country is going to war,' Buttigieg said

‘If we’re really talking about the bottom line, the balancing of the checkbook of an American family, there are lots of things that are way more under our control than the dynamics of global oil markets at a time when an oil-producing country is going to war,’ Buttigieg said

‘That includes lowering the cost of insulin. The president’s for it, were getting a lot of pushback from it. Lowering the cost of childcare – we’re for it, we’re getting a lot of pushback, often from the very same people who are criticizing us over inflation or gas prices. We had the child tax credit … which for a lot of families, probably most of them, would probably outweigh the price difference that you’re seeing with gas. We wanted to extend it a lot of the same folks on the hill that are criticizing us killed that.’ 

Part of President Biden’s now-defunct Build Back Better plan would have made permanent the child tax credit, subsidized child care and lowered prescription drug costs. The $1.75 trillion social and climate spending plan fell apart when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., joined every Senate Republican in opposition to the bill. 

Gas prices now average $4.32 a gallon – up from $2.86 one year ago – and Republicans have laid blame on President Biden for policies they say ‘killed’ the oil and gas industry in the U.S. – canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, pausing new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and removing subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. 

On CNBC Buttigieg also insisted that government spending is anti-inflationary. 

‘If you look at our fiscal policy it is true, and amazingly a lot of people don’t even know this, that the deficit has gone down,’ Buttigieg said. ‘Part of it is pointing to the fact that some of the investments that we make help with inflation.’ 

‘With inflation, that’s definitely true with the infrastructure investments because we know how infrastructure is related to supply chain, supply chain is related to inflation.’ 

Biden signed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill last year, on top of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a third pandemic relief bill. 

The budget deficit totaled $2.77 trillion for the 2021 budget year that ended Sept. 30, only the second highest annual deficit on record, exceeded only by the $3.13 trillion deficit for 2020, but both budgets were bloated by the stimulus spending. 

Buttigieg said Tuesday that the U.S. is still struggling with backlogged ports and supply chain disruptions, announcing at the White House a new effort for ‘freight logistics optimization.’ 

‘Currently, a lack of information sharing across the supply chain on shipments – port to rail, rail to truck, truck to warehouse, etc – means more congestion at each stage. That wastes a lot of time, and as the saying goes, time is money,’ the secretary wrote on Twitter.  



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