Gasoline Prices Are Falling Ahead of Midterm Elections

Source: By Ari Natter, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, October 30, 2022

Some administration officials say it should be closer to $3.20 Oil companies have drawn ire of Democrats for pump prices

Gasoline prices are falling ahead of the midterm US elections, easing the pressure on Democrats grappling with high fuel prices in key swing states and elsewhere across the country.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is now in its third week of declines and has fallen by $1.25 since the June peak of more than $5, leading administration officials like White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain to highlight the declines.

“Gas prices fell AGAIN overnight,” Klain said on Twitter, noting than the most common pump price in the US is $3.49 or lower.

With the recent drop, the national average price is not far from where they were when Russia invaded Ukraine in late-February, Biden officials who analyze the numbers on a daily basis said on Wednesday.

Still, Biden administration officials in private discussions have said the national average should be closer to $3.20.

Data for the last seven days shows that gas prices are flat or lower in every state, one Biden official said.

The national average on Tuesday was $3.76, according to AAA. But prices still remain high in states like California as well as Nevada, creating a drag on the re-election bid of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto who is locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.

Biden officials haven’t set a specific target for what they want gasoline to cost but the price is still too high based on market dynamics, two officials familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.

Oil refiners should make money on gasoline but their margins should be in line with production costs and historical returns, one official said. Instead, refinery profits are double what they normally are for this time of year.

Speaking at an event hosted by Bloomberg News, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a a benefit of moving Europe away from dependence on Russian energy.

“Europe in general, leading countries in particular, have done more in the space of nine months to break that dependence than anything we’ve seen in years,” Blinken said.