NewsCovering Kern County


Political finger-pointing continues over gas prices

Gas Prices, Bakersfield (FILE)
Posted at 4:53 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 21:58:44-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As gas prices continue to rise government officials continue to point the finger at who’s to blame for the cost at the pump.

We’ve seen the higher gas prices. We’ve felt the impact on our pockets. In Bakersfield, the lowest gas prices are still more than five dollars a gallon. But depending on which political party you ask the reasons for this pain at the pump are different.

During a press conference Friday, Congressman Kevin McCarthy said while the Biden Administration is attributing the rise in prices on the economic sanctions placed on Russia, he claims the fault is on "anti-energy" Democratic policies that started before the war in Ukraine.

“We warned that anti-energy policies would lead to higher gas prices. Democrats have responded with excuses and finger-pointing instead of serious solutions,” said McCarthy. “We produce 89,000 barrels a day in California less. Because of Gavin Newsom. 20 percent decline. But do you know who gained all of that? Because you still provided the oil. Putin. We get 50,000 barrels a day from Russia, instead of an American job with cleaner energy, in a more environmentally sound way, because of the policies of Democrats and they turn around and see the price is high.”

But 23ABC’s political analyst Allen Bollar told 23ABC the price of gas is set on a global scale and is not in the complete control of Congress or the president. Bollar said the policies in response to the pandemic are a part of that pain we feel at the pump. And now that the economy has improved those prices are going back up.

“However, there are some things presidents can do over time, that Congress can do that effects the price of energy in general. So it is true, policies put into place over the last few years.”

“We have a really low unemployment rate. We have a lot of money out there. And incomes are a lot higher. We have a lot of jobs out there. But what tends to happen, prices go up,” Bollar continued.

Bollar said this type of “blame game” is typical and if a Republican president was in office democrats would put the blame on them too. He said this is all something to keep in mind for the upcoming elections.

“It tends to be something that we feel directly. That there tends to be this shift that happens that we cannot control. And all of a sudden the amount that we’re paying each month. Just to go to work and do the things that we do is like double what it was. So people feel that, and it’s something voters respond to. So it’s not surprising that it’s going to be an issue this year, like most years when we have an election.”

Meanwhile, prices on U.S. crude oil have dropped over six dollars a barrel since Tuesday, but gas prices have not.

A Republican plan to suspend the state's gas tax failed on Monday. The proposal would reportedly save 50 cents a gallon. Democrats called it a small cut that they believed wouldn't get passed on to consumers. The governor says the proposal could be manipulated to line the pockets of what he calls the "petro-dictatorship" and oil companies benefiting from the spike in prices.

California Democratic legislators announced a proposal for a $400 gas rebate Friday morning for every California taxpayer.

Plus, governors across the nation are calling on the federal government to get rid of gas tax at the end of the year. But Nancy Pelosi saids they can not ensure that oil companies will decrease gas prices with this tax break.