As Americans struggle to put gas in the tank, President Joe Biden appears to praise high gas prices as a necessary part of our historic shift from fossil fuels.
“Here’s the situation,” Biden said at a Tokyo news conference on May 23, “when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels.”
An “incredible transition?” For Americans barely making ends meet, the only thing incredible about gas prices is how high they are.
But this was not just another Biden gaffe; it is administration policy. Testifying before Congress on May 19, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland repeatedly refused to say that gas prices are too high.
If the Biden administration cared about high gas prices, they would be doing everything in their power to increase domestic production. After a federal judge invalidated an offshore oil and gas lease sale in January, the administration chose not to appeal and has since canceled three transactions in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska — taking millions of acres off the auction block. The Washington Post called the move “a victory for climate activists intent on curbing U.S. fossil fuel leasing,” which “effectively ends the possibility of the federal government holding a lease sale in coastal waters this year.” Worse, the administration is about to let the nationwide offshore drilling program expire next month without a new plan in place.
This is exactly what Biden has promised his climate-obsessed left-wing base. While President Donald Trump opened 100 million acres of public land and water to exploration, Biden promised in 2020 to ban all “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.” And one of his first acts in his first week as president was to halt all new federal leasing. It was only after a Louisiana judge struck down his moratorium last summer that his administration involuntarily resumed leasing.
Many Americans are beginning to suspect that, just as the government deliberately raised the cost of cigarettes to curb smoking, Democrats want to see gas prices rise so that Americans will stop using fossil fuels.
And while raising the cost of smoking does not harm our national security, raising the cost of fossil fuels does. One of the great geostrategic developments of the early 21st century was our nation’s emergence as an energy superpower. On Trump’s watch, the United States supplanted Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. This not only created jobs for Americans, it also transformed the national security landscape in our favor.
Now, Biden is desperately turning to our enemies for oil. Why would Biden want to increase our dependence on rogue states such as the Russian-, Chinese- and Cuban-backed regime in Venezuela?
Simple. He doesn’t want to increase domestic production because he sees the crisis with Russia as an opportunity to speed our “incredible transition” from fossil fuels. In Tokyo, he just said the quiet part out loud.
Mark Thiessen is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (aei.org) in Washington. A longer version of this article appeared in the Washington Post.