Stefanik upset gas prices aren't as low as they were when no one was driving

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The New York Republican congresswoman is comparing today's gas prices to those from the middle of the pandemic, when gas was cheap because the country was in lockdown.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) blamed President Joe for rising gas prices, comparing current prices to last July — when gas was cheap because the COVID-19 pandemic that ex-President Donald Trump never got under control was keeping people home.

"Thanks, Joe," Stefanik tweeted, along with a quote from an article that said, "The average price for gas is $3.18 a gallon. One year ago, New Yorkers were playing $2.25."

Stefanik is one of a number of GOP lawmakers trying to blame Biden for rising gas prices, including Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who tweeted on Sunday:

"People are paying more at the grocery store, at the gas pump, and when buying everyday goods. Rising prices under Biden are a hidden tax paid by every American!"

However, experts told CNN that Biden is not to blame for the rise in prices.

"At this point, there is no plausible connection between Biden becoming president and the increasing gasoline prices,"  University of California Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein told CNN.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said in a statement that "robust gasoline demand," as Americans begin to travel again after virus cases and deaths dramatically declined with Biden's vaccine rollout, has helped lead to the rising prices.

McGee told Politico that the increased demand for gas is thanks to the public being more optimistic about travel and vacations, thanks to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

And while Republicans are trying to blame Biden for rising gas prices, Biden remains opposed to a move by Republicans to increase the gas tax to fund a bipartisan infrastructure plan.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a White House briefing last week that Biden is opposed to a gas tax increase "because he felt that would fall on the backs of Americans who are returning to their workplaces, who are driving their kids to school. And that was a bottom line or a red line for him in the negotiations."

Pinning rising gas prices to Biden as normal life and travel resume may be part of another GOP effort to try to make a dent in Biden's popularity as the party tries to win back control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms.

Republicans have also blamed Biden for the rising prices of fireworks and a private pipeline company being hacked, which led to gasoline shortages in May.

But fireworks prices rose because of shipping delays from China, according to a Reuters report. And the private pipeline company was private, and not under Biden's purview.

Biden's popularity is holding steady at 51.5%, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. That's basically unchanged from Jan. 20, when he took office.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.