Officials: The White House is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding rising gas prices

High prices at the pump

Senior White House aides met several times this week to discuss policy options to limit gasoline prices, officials told CNN, with prices continuing to rise steadily in recent weeks amid strong economic demand, refinery issues, severe weather and geopolitical tensions.

In the meetings — which included National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, and Senior Advisor Amos Hochstein — officials discussed a menu of domestic and international policy options, but decided to take no action. In the near term.

The administration plans to closely monitor prices to see if they decline naturally as the peak season for travel and air conditioner use, traditionally seen between Memorial Day and Labor Day, recedes in the rearview, officials told CNN.

Although they have fallen steadily since their peak in June 2022, gasoline prices rose 10.6% in August, accounting for most, if not all, of the recent surge in inflation that has strained consumers’ — and voters’ — wallets.

The Biden administration has been monitoring rising prices throughout the summer, with officials admitting they began checking online price charts regularly for the first time since their peak.

“One of the first things I do every morning is tap on the AAA gas price,” White House chief economist Jared Bernstein told reporters this week. “There is some pressure relief coming in September.”

Global pressures on supply are expected to continue, with Saudi Arabia extending production cuts that were supposed to end in October until the end of the year. The US Energy Information Administration now expects oil prices to rise in the fourth quarter and not return to August 2023 averages until the second half of next year.

“The Department of Energy is in contact with producers and refiners to resolve any issues and try to ensure stable supplies,” Bernstein said.

President Joe Biden, speaking Thursday in Maryland about his economic plan, acknowledged that energy prices remain an ongoing issue for consumers.

“We have a lot to do,” Biden told the audience at Prince George’s County Community College. “And I’ll lower gas prices again. I promise.”

(tags for translation) Gas prices

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