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WASHINGTON (AP) — Heading into the Memorial Day travel weekend, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of his party are falsely blaming President Joe Biden for higher gasoline and lumber costs.
Gas prices have risen in recent weeks because a key pipeline was forced to close after a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. And lumber shortages — which existed during former President Donald Trump’s administration — were worsened by an unexpected housing boom.
Shortages have bedeviled the economy this spring, but most economists attribute the bulk of them to the difficulties of restarting the U.S. and global economies.
A look at the claims and reality:
MCCARTHY: “Gas prices are the highest since 2014 — just as summer starts. The recent hack of the Colonial Pipeline exposed the flaws of Biden’s approach to our country’s energy policies. On day one he signed an executive order cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline.” — blog post Monday.
REP. LIZ CHENEY, R-Wyoming: “From cancelling the Keystone Pipeline to banning new oil & gas leasing on federal lands, Biden’s energy policies are having devastating consequences. We’ve already seen a glimpse of this devastation with prices skyrocketing & gas shortages hitting communities across the country.” — tweet Friday.
THE FACTS: Biden’s action on the Keystone XL pipeline has nothing to do with the recent spike in gasoline prices. The pipeline handles crude oil, running from Canada to Texas through the Midwest, not gasoline, which had shortages on the East Coast after the Colonial Pipeline hack.
Biden’s order on his first day in office rescinded the construction permit for an extension to the main Keystone pipeline, which is still operating and runs about 2,687 miles (4,324 km) from Alberta to Illinois and Texas.
An expanded 1,210-mile (1,947-km) pipeline was planned to allow the system to carry up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day, passing through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
But shortages of crude oil haven’t been a factor.
Noteworthy is that while gas prices are at their highest level in six years, oil prices are still slightly below where they were in 2018. That suggests oil supplies are adequate and the refining and distribution of gasoline — through such networks as the Colonial Pipeline — are the problem.