Gas prices are so freaking high right now they make Snoop Dog look sober.
They’re up to $3.50/gallon nationally, nearly $1 more than a year ago. And some analysts are warning we could soon see gas prices at $5 or even $7 a gallon. With their party in power and facing blame from voters, Democrats are scrambling for excuses to explain away these gas prices—and Senator Bernie Sanders is the latest pushing nonsense to try to deflect blame.
In a Tuesday tweet, the Vermont progressive blamed “corporate greed” for high gas prices:
Shock. Shock. Shock. Gas prices are at the highest level in 7 years while Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell & BP made nearly $25 billion in profits last quarter – the highest level in over 7 years. The problem is not inflation. The problem is corporate greed, collusion & profiteering.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 16, 2022
Suffice it to say that this ain’t it.
As Manhattan Institute economist Brien Riedl pointed out, gas prices were below $2/gallon in May of 2020:
If only we could return to May 2020, when national gas prices fell to $1.93/gallon because oil companies decided they love us and didn't care about making money. Is that how pricing works? https://t.co/GzdJQHPG5N
— Brian Riedl 🧀 (@Brian_Riedl) February 16, 2022
Were gas companies just miraculously feeling generous? Did they just feel like giving Americans a bargain? Of course not, but that’s the absurd logic you’d have to believe in order to think that corporate greed is driving the current surge in gas prices.
Corporations are always “greedy,” in the sense that they seek maximum profit. But this doesn’t explain high prices, because they’re no more greedy or selfish than they were a year ago or 10 years ago or will be in 5 years.
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) February 17, 2022
In a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of America’s top economists from across the political spectrum rejected the notion that “greed” is to blame for the current inflation surge.
(Note: this survey wasn’t specifically about high gas prices. But the same principles apply).
The real causes of surging gas prices are complicated.
For one thing, US gas prices are heavily influenced by international markets and what’s going on in other countries where vast amounts of oil are sourced.
If there are disruptions (or expansions) in the global supply, US gas prices react accordingly. So, while Americans love to blame (or credit) the president for gas prices, it’s often out of their control, to some extent.
That said, the current inflation surge across the economy is happening because of the kind of reckless money printing and government spending that Sanders & co. promote. This overall trend is surely contributing to high gas prices. So, too, so far under the Biden administration, the Democrats have pursued anti-energy regulatory policies that contribute to high gas prices.
Of course, it’s easier for Democratic politicians to blame the corporations and CEOs than take accountability or acknowledge their policy mistakes. But what’s easy isn’t always what’s right.
You can always count on Bernie Sanders to blame everything on businesses. That’s his anti-capitalist shtick. But in this case, his narrative has no basis in economics or reality.