U.S. gas prices hit a high on March 8, and President Joe Biden warned Americans they may pay even more at the pump after he banned imports of oil from Russia to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion of Ukraine.
“Everyone here knows gas is high because they shut down production in the U.S. but here is an extremely simple breakdown for people with short memories,” read a March 7 Facebook post. A graphic that accompanied the post included data that appears to be credited to the consumer website GasBuddy and showed prices steadily rose after Biden became president.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
That’s because the post gets several things wrong.
The facts on U.S. oil production
There are many factors at play in the steady climb in gas prices since Biden took office, including increased demand after pandemic lockdowns ended, inflation and, now, the war in Ukraine. But lower oil production in the U.S. isn’t one of them.
America produced 11.185 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2021, compared with 11.283 million a year earlier under Trump. The amount produced in Biden’s first year exceeds the average daily amount produced under Trump from 2016 to 2018, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Biden did issue an executive order his first month in office that paused new oil and gas lease sales on government land pending a review, but that order was struck down by a federal judge in June.
Despite claims to the contrary, oil production was unphased in the U.S. following the order. And cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline didn’t impact production levels, as many Biden critics have alleged. In addition, Biden has surpassed Trump in issuing drilling permits on public land, the Washington Post reported in January.
Misleading graphic in Facebook post
The graphic in the Facebook post misleadingly marks Nov. 26, 2020, as the date when Biden was “installed.” That’s wrong.
Biden was declared winner of the Nov. 3, 2020, election on Nov. 7, 2020. And he took office on Jan. 20, 2021. Gas prices on Nov. 7, 2020, were $2.104 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, and rose to $2.408 per gallon on Jan. 20, 2021, Inauguration Day. Those figures appear to be in line with the data in the graphic, but that doesn’t mean the post’s conclusion is accurate.
Patrick De Haan, an oil and gas products analyst for GasBuddy, said that users of its app and website can create graphics from its data. The one in the post was not produced by GasBuddy and De Haan took issue with the claim itself. He credited a rise in gas prices to COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery as well as the Russia-Ukraine war.
A month into Biden’s presidency, PolitiFact began seeing claims that blamed Biden’s policies for increases in gas prices. But energy experts we spoke to said it was largely due to supply and demand rather than presidential policies. The coronavirus pandemic prompted a big fall in oil demand and gasoline prices, due to declines in driving and air travel. As the economy has slowly rebounded, growing demand has boosted prices at the pump.
De Haan similarly said Biden’s policies are not a significant driver in the price increases, though they do have what he called “optical impacts.”
The national average cost for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was $4.173 as of March 8, breaking the record set in 2008, according to AAA. That’s 55 cents higher than it was a week earlier, about 72 cents higher than it was the same time in February, and about $1.40 higher than it was in March 2021, AAA numbers show.
A Facebook post claims that Biden “shut down production” in the U.S., which is why gas prices are so high. The post also falsely claims Biden was “installed” in November, with a graphic showing that the rise in gas prices began under his watch. This is misleading, as Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021.
Oil production in the U.S. in 2021 was on par with 2020 production and exceeded yearly production from 2016-18, data shows.
We rate this claim False.
This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.