Gas prices will continue their downward trend in July after hitting a record high of more than $5 a gallon last month, economic adviser to President Joe Biden assured Sunday.
The average nationwide gas station price is now down nearly 50 cents, after hitting about $5.02 on June 16, according to the American Automobile Association.
That’s still significantly higher than the $3.17 a gallon average at the same time last year, but Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that figure is likely to continue to decline in the near future.
“What I can say is that I think it’s very likely that gas prices will continue to decline, let’s say until the end of this month,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union program.
He added: “And I am not saying this because not only the price of oil has fallen by 20 percent, but also wholesale prices. And the two tend to hunt each other down.
The White House has been unsettled by the very visible burden that rising gas prices are placing on ordinary Americans, and economists predict that the current relief will be short-lived.
Analysts who spoke to the Washington Post warned that prices could rise again before the end of the year, possibly as early as October, which would certainly deal a blow to the Democrats’ long-term bid to maintain control of Congress after the November election.
But Bernstein said it’s too early to accurately predict such data.
Biden’s economic adviser Jared Bernstein said it’s too early to predict what gas prices will be later this year, amid reports that they could hit $6 a gallon.
“Look, when it comes to these prices, no one can reliably look around the corner,” he explained.
“So I would say don’t really pay too much attention to these predictions, because that’s too much volatility.”
Meanwhile, Biden’s energy adviser, Special Presidential Coordinator Amos Hochstein, predicted on Sunday that gas prices would continue to fall to $4 a gallon.
He told CBS News Face The Nation that private energy companies have already pledged to increase production by the end of the year.
“We have seen prices — both the price of oil and the price of a gas station — fall at the fastest rate we have seen in more than a decade, from over $5… they are now $4.55 and I expect that they will decrease. more to $4,” Hochstein said.
Gas companies, which have already made record profits, are forecast to raise average prices above $6 a gallon.
The White House remains concerned about the financial burden of energy prices after the cost of a gallon of gas has fallen by about 50 cents since reaching an all-time high of $5 in mid-June.
US inflation rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest level since 1981 and higher than the economist had predicted.
Bernstein said these companies “should share some of that profit with the American people right now, especially as we support Ukraine’s efforts in its war against Russia.”
“So when we talk about the president doing everything he can to provide gas station assistance, one of the things he does is try to push these companies to pass some of those savings to consumers,” he said.
“You know, in the first quarter of this year, some of the biggest oil companies made $35 billion in net income.”
Gas prices have already been rising as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But rising costs quickly spiraled out of control after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, plunging the global energy supply chain into chaos.
Biden insisted for months that the spending surge was due to Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine and price gouging by US energy companies, while Republicans scolded the president for not taking responsibility for the surge.
Newly released data showed inflation rose 9.1 percent in June, the highest annual increase since 1981. Among the main factors was a staggering 59.9 percent increase in gas station prices.
The president reacted last week, calling the increase “unacceptably high” but said the devastating numbers were outdated and did not reflect cost cuts in recent days.
Bernstein said on Sunday that Americans’ financial strain is “well understood” and that Biden and his team are doing “everything possible to ease price pressures.”
“The President does not unequivocally call the mission accomplished on any of these issues. We are talking about a reduction that is completely insufficient when it comes to delivering the assistance to family budgets that they need,” the adviser said.
“That’s why he continues to push every possible aspect of this issue in terms of increasing global energy supplies to help mitigate this price increase.”
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