By Karen Stokes
Gas prices have been dropping after almost a month of increases.
“Giving people some breathing room at the gas pump is one of the President’s top priorities and his work is paying off in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Jared Bernstein, White House economist.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average retail price of gas now stands at $3.888 on Monday, Oct 17, 2022 down from last week’s $3.919 price tag.
In March, President Biden oversaw the release of 180 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. It’s this big oil reserve that the U.S. government controls to use in times to bolster economic security.
“Certainly the war in Ukraine qualifies as one of those times,” said Bernstein. “Where you have the Putin invasion putting strong upward pressure on commodity prices in general and our gas prices in particular but the President worked quickly to counteract that action and it helped take the price of oil down from over $120 a barrel to around $85 where it takes the price of gas down from over $5 a gallon to the mid $3.”
Gas prices are a global commodity with a lot of uncertainty right now.
“In recent weeks including in Wisconsin some refineries that were offline in California and the Midwest coming back online we have tight refinery capacity across the country so getting those refineries back online is important as well,” Bernstein said.
For months, some have been arguing that the US economy is going into a recession.
In basic terms, a recession is when the economy’s performance decreases for an extended period of several months, marked by GDP contraction, higher unemployment rates and lower consumer spending, according to Forbes.
“Unemployment is only one variable that determines the economy. Consumer spending, it’s been pretty strong. One reason is that we have one of the strongest labor markets in history. Ten million jobs since the President took office, 700,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. That kind of job growth helps to fuel consumer spending which is 70% of the economy,” said Bernstein.
“Manufacturing is strong, industrial production is strong, family balance sheets are pretty good,” he said. “Of course we know that people are facing the challenge of elevated prices and we know the squeeze of family budgets that’s why we’re doing everything we can to provide some breathing room and have gotten some results. The case for recession just isn’t there.”