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Biden’s economic adviser Amos Hochstein was forced to confront the White House’s conflicting stories during an interview on Wednesday when asked about the administration’s rush to take credit for lower gas prices, despite repeatedly blame Russian President Vladimir Putin and oil managers for high prices.
White House officials praise their efforts to successfully lower gas prices after the national average fell to $4.16, down from $4.81 last month.
TBEN News host John Roberts asked Hochstein in an interview on “America Reports” whether it was fair for government officials to take ownership of falling gasoline prices after months of blaming Russia for their rise and insisting it was out of their control.
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“The war in Ukraine is still raging and prices are falling. What about the idea that this was Putin’s price hike?” asked Robert.
Hochstein rejected critics’ suggestion that Putin’s war argument was “a misconception.”
“Prices started rising as soon as Putin started intervening in Europe,” he said, insisting the Russian leader is responsible for the scattering of global energy markets. “The most significant price hike was when Putin started to intervene in the markets in the early fall of last year, and long before the invasion, when he started raising security premiums, they went up.”
Hochstein said the argument that prices rose under President Biden before Putin disrupted the markets “is not factually true.”
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‘Why do they perish when the war rages on? That’s a good question,” he said. “The answer is because we’ve taken many different actions to bring prices down. Unfortunately, we live in an age where we want instant gratification that when you take an action, you see the response immediately — sometimes it takes time in the market.”
Hochstein credited Biden’s decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and involve US allies to pump more oil for the nearly 50 cents a gallon drop over the past 30 days.
“All actions taken together have that impact,” he said. “We want them to go further, but there is no doubt that the measures we have taken are part of the reason why these prices are falling.”
Biden himself praised the price drop, calling it “the fastest drop in more than a decade” — though critics say the drop itself was negligible as prices are still high compared to figures under former President Donald Trump.
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Hochstein said the comparison between gas prices now and what they were a year ago — nearly a dollar less per gallon — is unfair because demand for gas increased significantly as COVID rules were relaxed.
“And at the same time,” he told Roberts, “I want to remind you that six weeks ago most of the headlines were in the news that oil prices would continue to rise and gasoline would rise.”
While the White House “would like to see them lower,” Hochstein said, “there’s no question that the oil and gasoline price trajectory is in the right place.”