x
Breaking News
More () »

Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

VERIFY: Will a Biden presidency mean higher gas prices?

Experts say a president's impact on gas prices is limited.

ATLANTA — We've seen a lot of people warning online that higher gas prices are coming once President-elect Joe Biden takes office. 

Some posts even allegedly document current prices at the pump.  

This is a complex issue so we talked to multiple sources to find out what's true.

SOURCES

  • Megan Cooper, AAA spokesperson
  • Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy
  • Mark Finley, fellow in energy and global oil at Rice University's Baker Institute

"A lot of people don't realize when they're filling up at the gas pump... is actually what goes into the price they're seeing at the pump," Megan Cooper, a spokesperson for AAA, said. "The majority of that price is the price of crude oil."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, other factors include refining costs, distribution and marketing plus taxes.

"What you're paying at the pump is a balance of supply and demand and presidents really have a limited authority to enter in to that," Patrick De Haan, petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, told 11Alive. "However, in the last several years we've seen different politicians running on different environmental policies, different progressive agendas that could change what we traditionally thought." 

So the question is whether President-elect Biden's policies would play a role. 

"There may be different stances on fossil fuels," De Haan said, adding that such impact would not be immediately felt when the president-elect takes office. "Some of those changes could take years to affect the market."

"He's also said not that he would ban fracking but that he would stop issuing new permits for new drilling on federal lands," Mark Finley, fellow in energy and global oil at Rice University's Baker Institute, said. "And federal lands are not where the action is when it comes to U.S. oil production."

So could we pay more for gas under a Biden White House? Possibly. But there's context missing with policy plans not fully known; meanwhile, experts emphasize a president's impact is limited.  

"It's really a global marketplace and the things the president can do on the edges, are really on the edges of it," Finley said. 

Instead, global events such as the current coronavirus pandemic can be significant influencers on pricing. 

"Because of coronavirus reducing demand, we've been in this era of low prices since March," De Haan said. "If there is a vaccine, the holy grail of getting us back to normal, that could push prices higher."

"It's important to differentiate that's our economy recovering from gas prices going up and won't have anything to do of who is in the White House at the time," De Haan said. "It would happen if Trump was in the White House or Biden."