July 3, 2018

Blame Trump at the Pump: Highest July Fourth Gas Prices Since 2014

Three Trump Policies to Blame

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans hitting the road for July Fourth can expect to see the highest holiday gas prices since 2014. GasBuddy predicts that travelers can expect to be spending $2.90 per gallon when they stop to fill up this Independence Day. This time last year, holiday travelers could fill up their tank for $2.22 per gallon.

“Because of Trump’s costly policies, there will be fireworks for oil company profits this July Fourth at the expense of American consumers,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program.

The spike can be attributed in part to three Trump policies:

1) Rolling back clean car standards

As soon as President Donald Trump was elected, automakers began urging the administration to roll back the clean car standards put into place by the Obama administration, which have saved consumers nearly $60 billion at the gas pump so far, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April announced that the clean car standards are “not appropriate” and should be rolled back – even though automakers are meeting the standards faster and more affordably that originally predicted.

A leaked draft of the proposed rollback shows the administration’s preferred policy – freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels – could result in the U.S. using up to 283,000 barrels per day by 2025 and 881,000 barrels per day by 2035. This increase in oil demand could cost consumers as much as $236 billion cumulatively by 2035, and the oil and gas markets are already building this future increased demand into today’s gas prices.

2) Exporting American oil

In 2016, President Barack Obama repealed (PDF) the 40-year limit on the ability to export U.S. produced oil. Lifting the oil export ban encouraged companies to sell their U.S.-produced oil, thereby reducing domestic inventories and pushing gas prices higher. The U.S. now exports 2.5 million barrels of oil every day and gas prices continue to rise.

Under the terms of the repeal (PDF) Trump has the ability to “impose export licensing requirements or other restrictions on the export of crude oil from the United States . . . if . . . the President declares a national emergency and formally notices the declaration of a national emergency in the Federal Register.” But Trump has refused to consider declaring such an emergency to protect consumers – even though he is considering (PDF) using his power to declare a national emergency to force consumers to pay for a bailout of uneconomic nuclear and coal power plants.

3) Cancelling the Iran nuclear deal

On June 30, Trump stated that he blames “turmoil and dysfunction” in Iran and Venezuela for the rising gas prices, but Trump himself is responsible for the disruption in oil supplies from Iran. His decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal had an immediate upward effect on gas prices, and the impact will surely be felt by travelers this July Fourth holiday.

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