While turning a blind eye to her party’s fingerprints all over the nationwide spike in gas prices, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) this week called for oil companies to face “consequences” for “profiteering” from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In yet another predictable and sophomoric reaction by the “Squad” member, Ocasio-Cortez displayed an alarming lack of knowledge of basic economics and supply and demand. But considering she sponsored the Green New Deal, there is precedent for her statement.
Those who grasp business principles were quick to point to the obvious causes of the recent gas price spike, which combine Russian aggression in Ukraine with the Biden administration’s antagonism against increasing domestic production. Frank Macchiarola of the American Petroleum Institute correctly explained that “increased demand and lagging supply” combined with the Ukraine war pushed prices at the pump higher.
The American Automobile Association also notes that, while declining crude prices will remove some pressure from pump prices, it will be a “gradual decline.”
Many factors determine how much consumers pay for gas, and crude oil by the barrel is merely one. It is always worth noting, though doubtful that progressives will bother, that 95% of retail gas stations are not owned by oil companies but are independent.
Of course, this is the same AOC who celebrated the pandemic-caused crash in oil prices in 2020 with a tweet proclaiming “You absolutely love to see it.” After harsh blowback from people personally affected by industry layoffs and lockdowns, the tweet was deleted. And just last week, AOC declared her alarm that people are pushing to increase imports or domestic oil production to try to bring prices down.
Because in the world of economic illiteracy, increasing supply has no effect on prices. And her solution? “Rapidly investing in solar and wind.”
Ocasio-Cortez is hardly alone in her basic economic dysfunction. President Joe Biden on Tuesday tweeted that the oil and gas industries “shouldn’t pad their profits at the expense of hard working Americans.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said before Christmas that American families who imitate AOC and buy a Tesla “never have to worry about gas prices again.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad” colleague Ilhan Omar (D-MN.), who can always be counted on for common sense and clear thinking, lambasted “Big Oil CEOs” and said that profiteering “can’t stand.”
Gas prices have leveled off in recent days and may be headed for a downward trend, especially with the COVID-19 surge in China and its ramifications for the world’s largest oil importer. But to blame energy companies for energy prices not falling fast enough shows a lack of fundamental understanding of how markets work, a frightening trait for those who assume to lead.