Gas prices will continue to trend downward in July after reaching a record high of more than $5 per gallon last month, President Joe Biden’s economic adviser assured on Sunday.
The nationwide average price at the pump is now down nearly 50 cents after hitting roughly $5.02 on June 16, according to the American Auto Association.
It’s still significantly higher than the average $3.17 per gallon seen at this time last year – but the figure is likely to keep decreasing in the near future, according to Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
‘What I can say is that I think it’s very likely that gas prices continue to track down, say, for the rest of this month,’ he said on CNN’s State of the Union.
He added, ‘And I say that not because not just the oil price is down 20 percent, but wholesale prices are down as well. And those two tend to track each other.’
The White House has been ill at ease over the very visible burden that rising gas prices have had on everyday Americans, and economists have projected that the current relief is short-lived.
Analysts who spoke with the Washington Post warned that prices could surge again before the end of the year, possibly as early as October – which is certain to deal a blow to Democrats’ long shot bid to keep control of Congress after November’s elections.
But Bernstein said it was too early to accurately predict such data.
Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein said it was too early to predict what gas prices will be later this year amid reports that it could hit $6 per gallon
‘Look, nobody can see reliably around the corner when it comes to those prices – talking a couple of quarters away,’ he explained.
‘So I would say, really don’t pay a lot of attention to those forecasts, because it’s just too much volatility.’
Meanwhile a Biden energy adviser, Special Presidential Coordinator Amos Hochstein, predicted on Sunday that gas prices would keep falling toward $4 per gallon.
He told CBS News’ Face The Nation that private energy companies have already vowed to increase output by the end of the year.
‘We’ve seen the prices – both the oil price and price at the pump – have come down at the fastest rate we’ve seen in over a decade, from over $5…it’s now $4.55 and I expect it to come down more toward $4,’ Hochstein said.
Gas companies that have already seen record profits could push average prices up above $6 per gallon, according to projections.
The White House is still uneasy about the financial burden of energy prices after the cost per gallon of gas went down by roughly 50 cents since reaching a record high $5 in mid-June
Inflation in the U.S. rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and above what economist had predicted
Bernstein said those companies ‘ought to share some of that profitability with the American people right now, especially as we’re supporting Ukraine’s efforts in their war against Russia.’
‘So, when we talk about the president doing all he can to provide relief at the pump, one of the things that he’s doing is trying to nudge these companies to pass some of those savings along to consumers,’ he said.
‘You know, in the first quarter of this year, some of the biggest oil companies had a net profit of $35 billion.’
Gas prices had already been on the rise as the world’s economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the rising cost quickly spiraled out of control after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, plunging the global energy supply chain into chaos.
Biden has for months insisted that rising costs were due to Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine and price gouging by American energy companies, while Republicans have hammered the president for not taking responsibility for the surge.
Newly-revealed data showed the inflation rate rising 9.1 percent in June – the highest single-year increase seen since 1981. Among the main drivers was a staggering 59.9 percent increase in prices at the pump.
The president reacted last week by calling the increase ‘unacceptably high’ but said the damaging figures were out-of-date and did not reflect the cost decreases in recent days.
Bernstein said Sunday that Americans’ financial strain was ‘well understood’ and that Biden and his team were doing ‘everything we can to ease price pressures.’
‘The president is unequivocal by not calling mission accomplished on any of this. We’re talking about a decline that’s completely insufficient when it comes to delivering the relief to family budgets that they need,’ the adviser said.
‘So, that’s why he continues to push on every aspect he can of this issue in terms of increasing the supply of global energy to help mitigate that price increase.’
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