The True Cost of Gas Prices and Inflation for American Households 

Gas prices and inflation have been hotly debated in recent years, especially due to the pandemic and the changing political landscape. As summer travel heats up and people start to feel the pinch at the pump, it is important to understand why these issues matter for American households. The True Cost of Washington Tour, hosted by Americans for Prosperity, sheds light on the real-world impact of gas prices and inflation on families, workers, and small businesses. In this blog post, we will explore the historical context, current trends, and policy implications of gas prices and inflation, as well as the Biden administration’s role in shaping them. We will also delve into the highlights of the True Cost of Washington Tour and how it can inform our understanding of these complex issues. 

Gas prices have been volatile in the US over the past decade, ranging from a national average low of $1.85 per gallon in 2016 to an average high of $4.97 in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp drop in gas prices in 2020 due to reduced travel and economic activity, but they have since rebounded to pre-pandemic levels or even higher in some cases. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that gas prices will remain around $3.32 per gallon throughout the summer of 2023. Gas prices affect various sectors of the economy, such as transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, as well as consumer prices and people’s disposable income. For example, a 10-cent increase in gas prices translates into a $9 billion increase in fuel costs for US drivers, which can lead to less discretionary spending and slower economic growth. 

Inflation is a general rise in prices over time, usually measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The current rate of inflation in the US is 4.9% as of April 2023, the highest since 2008. Inflation affects different components of the CPI in varied ways, such as energy, food, housing, and used cars. The recent surge in inflation has been attributed to pandemic effects, such as supply shortages and booming demand, as well as stimulus spending and labor shortages. Inflation erodes the value of money, reduces purchasing power, and increases the cost of borrowing, which can stifle economic activity and worsen income inequality. 

The Biden administration has been both criticized and praised for its energy policies, particularly regarding fossil fuels and climate change. The administration canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, halted new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, and rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. These actions were lauded by environmental groups but condemned by business and industry groups as job-killing and anti-American energy independence. The administration argues that its policies aim to transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while opponents claim that they have caused gas prices to rise due to decreased domestic production and dependence on foreign oil. However, global oil markets, OPEC+ decisions, and weather events also play a significant role in gas prices. 

The True Cost of Washington Tour is a grassroots initiative by Americans for Prosperity that aims to raise awareness about the impact of inflation on American families, workers, and small businesses. Greg Dowell and Spencer Evans, two AFP activists, traveled across 29 states and 26,000 miles to gather stories, statistics, and images about how inflation affects people’s daily lives. They created a mobile exhibit that highlights the hidden costs of inflation, such as rising grocery bills, healthcare expenses, and home prices. They also conducted interviews with ordinary Americans who shared their concerns and struggles with inflation, as well as their hopes and solutions for tackling it. The tour encourages people to engage in constructive dialogue, research, and action on inflation-related issues. 

Gas prices and inflation are complex and multifaceted issues that impact everyone in different ways. They are shaped by numerous factors, such as supply and demand, government policies, and global events. Understanding their causes and effects is crucial for making informed decisions and advocating for responsible solutions. The True Cost of Washington Tour, hosted by Americans for Prosperity, provides a unique perspective on the human toll of inflation and the need for pro-growth policies that help people prosper. By learning from their experiences and amplifying their voices, we can build a more inclusive and prosperous society that benefits all Americans. 

Watch the episode here:

Related Articles

American Potential