Gas prices cross 'huge psychological line'

Gasoline prices fell below $4 per gallon nationally today, a new milestone in the nearly two months of daily declines.

AAA said the national average gas price is $3.99, a drop of 2 cents from yesterday. That’s a big drop from the June 14 peak of $5.016 but still much higher than a year ago, when it was $3.185.

“It’s a huge psychological line for a lot of folks,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said of the $4 mark. “It feels like there’s a ticker tape parade.”

Gross attributed the price decline to three main factors: Crude oil prices have been falling, gasoline demand is low, and President Joe Biden has been releasing about 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve since April.

The SPR releases have “certainly kept prices from going a lot higher,” Gross said.

The politics of it all

The decreases are sure to be a relief for drivers and businesses. But the Biden administration is also cheering — taking some credit for what could potentially blunt voters’ anger going into November’s midterm elections.

“I promised I’d address Putin’s price hike at the pump, and I am,” Biden tweeted.

“We’ve used our strategic petroleum reserve to get relief to families fast — and we rallied our allies and partners around the world to do the same,” he said. “More work remains, but prices are dropping.”

“The average price of a gallon of gas is now below $4 per gallon for the first time in over five months — the fastest decline in over a decade,” tweeted Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), who is facing a tough reelection bid. He called on oil companies to increase production.

But Republicans don’t want Biden to get credit.

“The Biden administration celebrating gas prices going from $5 to $4 a gallon is the equivalent of someone lighting your back porch on fire, then selling you a fire extinguisher, and expecting you to thank them,” tweeted Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.).

Check out the POLITICO Energy podcast — all the energy and environmental politics and policy news you need for the day, in just five minutes. Listen and subscribe for free at On today’s episode, Victoria Guida talks about gas prices.

It’s Thursday — thank you for tuning in to POLITICO’s Power Switch. I’m your host today, Timothy Cama. Arianna will be back soon! Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy. Send your tips, comments, questions to [email protected]

Solar energy project delays are growing, just as leaders are pushing for more renewable capacity.

On average, 4.4 gigawatts worth of utility-scale solar installations were delayed each month in the first half of this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said today, citing its most recent report on the nation’s inventory of electric generation facilities.

That compares with 2.6 gigawatts in the same period in 2021, EIA said. Still, most delays add up to less than six months.

“Various factors could cause delays, including broad economic factors, such as supply chain constraints, labor shortages, and high prices of components, and factors specific to electric generator projects, such as obtaining permits or testing equipment,” the agency said.

Uncertain impacts from the climate bill

The climate bill’s methane fees for the oil and gas industry might not have a sizable effect on emissions, Mike Lee and Carlos Anchondo report.

It would exempt more than half of the emissions, while EPA regulations will restrict other emissions and companies are already taking or planning their own actions. Check out that story here.

And if you’re looking for any certainty on the bill’s overall greenhouse gas emissions picture, good luck. While forecasters have generally agreed that it would cut emissions by about 40 percent from 2005 levels, the real results could vary widely, depending on any number of factors, Benjamin Storrow writes. Read more here.

Brussels is aiming to move beyond the car, with a new plan set to take effect next week that would divert cars away from the city center, writes Aitor Hernández-Morales. It’s part of the Belgian capital’s plan to slash emissions and cut car traffic 24 percent by 2030. Read about it here.

Fuel refineries on the Gulf Coast and East Coast are hitting their maximum capacities despite soft fuel demand.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has exerted significant sway over the selection process for the state’s electric grid operator.

Russia’s oil production only fell by about 3 percent since the country invaded Ukraine.

The science, policy and politics driving the energy transition can feel miles away. But we’re all affected on an individual and communal level — from hotter days and higher gas prices to home insurance rates and food supply.

Want to know more? Send us your questions and we’ll get you answers.

The methane fee in the climate bill could pave the way for a broad carbon tax.

The electric vehicle incentives in the legislation could double U.S. EV sales by 2030 compared with business as usual.

California regulators approved a plan to greatly expand offshore wind.

That’s it for today, folks! Thanks for reading.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.