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EJ ANTONI: Bidenomics Is A Boot On The Neck Of American Oil

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E.J. Antoni Contributor
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Few presidents have done more to hamstring American oil production than Joe Biden, who has vowed to outright end our fossil fuel industry. But despite domestic oil production being below pre-pandemic levels, Politico recently ran an article falsely asserting that pumping is at a record high. The Biden administration’s own numbers dispel that narrative.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data tell the real story. From President Donald Trump’s election until mid-March 2020, oil production was like a rocket sled on rails, rising from 8.7 million barrels per day (the same level as 30 years prior) to 13.1 million barrels. That’s over a 50 percent increase in production.

But these facts are ignored in the Politico article in question which uses annual averages to manipulate the data.

Under Mr. Trump, the oil industry had years of fast but steady growth. Using annual average causes the relatively low production at the beginning of each calendar year to offset the higher production at the end. Thus, the highwater mark of oil pumping during Mr. Trump’s tenure becomes June 2019, instead of March 2020, effectively eliminating nine months of expanding output. (RELATED: KATIE WALSH SHIELDS: America Can’t Afford Bidenomics)

In stark contrast to the rapid growth under Mr. Trump, the oil industry’s recovery under Mr. Biden has been more anemic. Production has never recovered to its pre-pandemic peak, let alone the pre-pandemic trend, and that’s a direct result of Mr. Biden’s war on American energy.

A recent study by economics professor Casey Mulligan showed that “the U.S. would be producing between 2 and 3 million more barrels of oil a day and between 20 and 25 more billion cubic feet of natural gas under [Trump-era] policies.”

The irony of the Politico article’s false assertions on American oil production under Mr. Biden is that the nation genuinely could be at record production levels today, were it not for the very changes Mr. Biden had made from his predecessor. The imposition of new taxes and regulations, along with limiting leases and permits, has throttled the supply of domestic oil.

To make up for these failures, Mr. Biden drained about half of the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), a maneuver which Professor Mulligan estimates would have been entirely unnecessary with Trump-era policies.

But flooding the market with oil from the SPR actually kept domestic pumping low. From the first week of January this year through the last week of July, production was completely flat at 12.2 million barrels per day. It wasn’t until Mr. Biden stopped draining the SPR that the oil industry could respond by increasing production to 12.8 million barrels a day.

Nevertheless, this Biden-era peak is still 300,000 barrels below the record set by Mr. Trump, completely disproving the assertion that we are pumping a record volume of oil today. Furthermore, papering over the disastrous effects of Bidenomics on the energy market ignores the pain inflicted on the American consumer.

Throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency, oil averaged $54 a barrel and rarely surpassed $65. Under Mr. Biden, oil has averaged $81 a barrel, a 50 percent increase, and even peaked above $120.

Worse, prices are once again rising. That means consumers will be paying even more for heating, air-conditioning, and gasoline – which is already around $4 a gallon. (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: A Day One Energy Agenda For The Next Republican President)

People often underestimate how much the price of energy affects everything we do and everything we buy. More expensive energy, especially oil, means more expensive products and services throughout the economy. Every item that a consumer picks up on a store shelf was delivered there, almost always on a diesel-powered truck.

Higher fuel costs are a surefire way to increase the cost of living for the middle class, and Bidenomics has done that in spades. No amount of sycophantic and false media coverage will change this reality nor provide any relief for American families.

E.J. Antoni is a public finance economist at The Heritage Foundation and a senior fellow at Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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