Time to admit it: Americans are gas guzzlers and love to blame others
Even with record gas prices around the US, fuel consumers are not yet backing down. US motorists are buying larger vehicles that burn more fuel. According to Edmunds, the automotive research group, trucks and SUVs accounted for 73 percent of e-sales in 2021 in 2009. That stinks.
Chris Poulos, who oversees three car dealerships in the Houston area, said he was not seeing customers shift to electric vehicles, hybrids, or smaller cars. “Truth be told, there is absolutely no concern with gas prices . . . it’s been business as usual,” he said. “I have so much demand for my larger SUVs and full-size SUVs now that I’ve got zero left.”
Tran said Americans’ household budgets are better able to cope with fuel prices because they built up savings during the pandemic in previous situations when they were more stretched. According to the mic Analysis, spending on gasoline and other motor fuel in February was 2.82 percent of overall US goods spending.
The oil companies are aware that consumers have a lot of cash and want to reward Wall Street. On Wednesday, leading oil company CEOs declined to endorse a call from Democrats to reduce dividends and share buybacks and plow the money into ramping up production instead. Scott Sheffield, the CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company would increase output but flatly declined to dial back dividends. “The answer is no on dividends,” Sheffield said.
The biggest driver of high gas prices is rebounding demand as the U.S. economy recovers from the deadly pandemic. The increase of roughly 70 cents before Mr. Putin’s invasion is mainly due to people venturing out again for travel, work, and school and the surge in truckers crisscrossing the nation to move goods. President Biden’s hefty stimulus somewhat to inflation, but the reopening effect was far more significant. But predictably, especially given that this is an election year with control of both houses in the balance, Republican politicians are blaming Mr. Biden for pain at the pump. Stickers are popping up on gas pumps with a photo of Mr. Biden and the words “I did that.”
The reality is that presidents have little influence on gas prices — trades in a global market. Private companies, not the government, do drilling in the United States. Americans also have other priorities right now, including doing what they can to tip the balance in Ukraine against the aggressors. Poll after poll shows the vast majority support cutting off Russian oil imports, even if it means prices go up.
America produced 11.185 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2021, compared with 11.283 million under Trump. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the amount produced in Biden’s first year exceeded the average id under Trump from 2016 to 2018.
Americans want what they want, and if they can’t have it, we love to assign blame. So many voters are thinking of voting for Republicans despite what they represent is scary for all of us.