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High gas prices are among the most popular topics on the internet in 2022. Everyone’s talking about how bad it is, comparing prices by location, and so much more. Often in the past (and present), the United States President is blamed for the cost of fuel. Some argue Joe Biden is to blame for the current crisis, while others deny that completely. So, are high gas prices President Joe Biden’s fault or not?

Why gas prices are partially the President’s fault

Gas prices; ev alternative: Are high gas prices President Joe Biden's fault?
Gas prices on March 13, 2022, in Los Angeles | Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced last week that Russian oil imports to the United States are banned. This, a retaliation against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, meant that Americans would begin to pay more for gas. In short, part of the price spikes are because of this cutoff, but is the President to blame? Like many other country and company leaders around the world, Joe Biden is punishing the Russian government. By draining the invading country of all its resources, countries worldwide are supporting Ukraine.

“Defending freedom is going to cost, it’s going to cost us as well,” Biden said.

According to a report from FiveThirtyEight, Americans have dealt with inflation and slowly rising gas prices for over a year. Year-over-year, U.S. prices in February increased by 7.9 percent. That’s the most significant jump since 1982, primarily due to the country recovering from a struggling supply chain and pandemic-induced recession. Worst of all, inflation could get worse before it gets better. Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, oil, wheat, and other resources’ prices have gone way up as countries worldwide force sanctions on the invaders.

United States gas prices are the highest they’ve ever been

A white SUV pumping gas, Are high gas prices President Joe Biden's fault?
Freedom at the gas pump | LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

In the United States, gas prices have reached an alarming $4.17 per gallon on average. Often, Presidential approval ratings have tanked due to high gas prices alone. However, with the current state of the world, are people still blaming Joe Biden for the price at the pump? Jon Krosnick, a social psychologist at Stanford University, has researched the link between presidential approval and economic indicators. According to Krosnick, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plays a role in whether or not Americans blame Biden, or Putin, for inflation.

Using multiple surveys, The Economist and Quinnipiac University discovered that Americans are willing to tolerate higher gas prices due to sanctions against Russia. In short, Americans are looking for someone to blame, and the President is the easiest target. Not blaming Biden requires another person (or country) to blame for the current situation. That’s why it’s either the President of the United States or Russia right now.

“The impact of economic indicators on presidential approval depends upon the attribution that the public makes for the cause of economic indicators getting better or worse. In other words, what matters here is whether the President can reasonably be held responsible for what happened to gas prices, or anything else.” Krosnick told FTE.

Is President Joe Biden’s approval rating dropping because of high gas prices?

Inflation and gas prices often heavily impact the people’s approval rating of the current sitting President. With the highest gas prices of all time, you’d expect Biden’s approval rating to be at rock bottom, right? Surprisingly, today, Joe Biden’s approval is about the same as when Russia first invaded Ukraine. In addition, the bit that it did drop since then has started an upward trajectory. Krosnick noted that the State of the Union address and the Ukraine crisis have likely both helped the President’s approval rating.

One other thing working in favor of Joe Biden is that the U.S. isn’t as reliant on foreign oil as it once was. Francesco D’Acunto, a professor of finance at Boston College, specifically noted the 1973 and 1974 energy crises when speaking with FTE.

“At the time, if OPEC countries decided that they wanted to reduce production, that was it. Even if we see that prices are increasing, we haven’t yet observed anything close to what was happening in the late ’70s,” D’Acunto said.

Do Americans think high gas prices are President Joe Biden’s fault?

Inflation in the United States was high long before the Ukraine crisis started making it worse. TFE reported that most Americans disapproved of Biden’s handling of inflation before Russia ever invaded. The pandemic and the Russian invasion have significantly hurt the economy and, more specifically, gas prices. However, it seems that many people are willing to deal with higher gas prices if sanctions against Russia cause them.

In conclusion, gas prices are partially President Joe Biden’s fault, but mostly out of his control. Moreover, Americans understand the current situation in Ukraine’s impact on our country’s gas prices. That’s why since the beginning of the invasion, Biden’s approval ratings have started going back up. Other countries are even struggling with high gas prices right now because it’s a global problem. Overall, looking at the current slight upswing in approval ratings, Americans do not think high gas prices are President Joe Biden’s fault.


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