Biden Chooses Better Gas Prices Over Climate Goals

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Gas prices are down due to increased U.S. oil production. And while reduced prices may improve the financial forecast for regular Americans, the new Democratic party feels conflicted over how the price reduction transpired.

The details: The U.S. exported more liquified natural gas than any other country in 2023, setting an annual high and increasing almost 15 points from 2022. Biden also approved several large-scale drilling projects on federal land and began aggressively purchasing oil to replenish U.S. strategic reserves.

  • Context: These actions are a U-turn from Biden’s presidential campaign when he pledged “no new drilling, period,” on federal land.

  • Necessity: Politically, Biden had no choice as gas prices exceeded $5 a gallon in June 2022.

The reaction: The Left has protested against the volte-face, climate groups have strongly condemned the projects Biden approved, and the New York Times quoted one protester as threatening to pull her support over Biden’s reversal. New polling shows that less than one-fourth of Democrats support increasing fossil fuel production.

  • However: Biden’s new oil policy puts the U.S. in a stronger position relative to other countries and reduces reliance on foreign oil.

Why it matters: The Democratic Party is split between increasing oil production for the benefit of the American consumer and adhering to partisan goals. Biden has chosen practicality. It remains to be seen if the decision impacts how the party’s activist wing thinks.