President Biden says that in the short term, there is little he can do to lower gas prices. Unfortunately, he’s right. Releasing supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has had virtually no impact on fuel costs, and the modest increase in production Saudi Arabia recently announced won’t either. Nor would authorizing the completion of the Keystone pipeline. The global economic recovery from the pandemic shutdown has boosted demand, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has scrambled supply lines in ways that won’t be fixed soon. Only a global recession, which no one wants, would lower prices appreciably in the next year or two.
The problem extends well beyond crude oil and its derivatives. The price of natural gas has soared, futures for coal delivered to Europe have risen 137% this year, and cash prices for Appalachian coal have more than doubled since last June.
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