Fact check: Biden didn't say he was pushing for $5 gas

·5 min read

The claim: Biden admits that $5 gas is intentional at a press briefing

After reaching more than $5 a gallon last month, gasoline prices have been dropping steadily for the past six weeks, something President Biden has heralded as a good thing for Americans.

Nevertheless, some social media users are claiming that Biden has disclosed plans to keep gas prices at $5.

An Instagram post shared July 7 shows a clip of Biden speaking at a May 23 joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. In the clip, Biden talks about gas prices in the U.S. and says "we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over."

Text above and below the video clip reads: "Biden ADMITS $5 gas is being done ON PURPOSE!'' and "This has been his plan all along."

The social media user added a caption saying, "Blames Putin at press briefings.. then admits its all part of his own plan. Sickening."

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The post generated more than 11,000 likes in less than a week.

But Biden made no such disclosure during the press conference.

His comments during the event indicate he has focused on reducing gas prices.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment.

President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and clean energy at Brayton Power Station, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Somerset, Mass. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and clean energy at Brayton Power Station, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Somerset, Mass. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Biden's words taken out of context

Biden discussed U.S. gas prices during the press conference with Kishida after a reporter asked him whether a recession in the U.S. was inevitable given "record-high inflation" and "enormously high gas prices," according to a White House transcript.

Biden responded that he didn't think a recession was inevitable, and he said the U.S. was in a stronger economic position than other countries.

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He then said that the U.S. is going through an "incredible transition" with gas prices and that once it is over, America will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels.

There is no evidence that Biden said that his administration was purposely setting gas prices at $5 a gallon.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston, agreed.

"President Biden merely said that we are on a long path to an energy transition that reduced our dependence on hydrocarbons and fossil energy," Krishnamoorti said in an email. "The energy transition is exactly that – I don’t think he ever admitted or claimed that $5 gas was what his administration is trying to get to."

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Other parts of Biden's answer also indicate that he has focused on reducing gas prices.

"What I’ve been able to do to keep it from getting even worse – and it’s bad," Biden said. "The price of gas at the pump is something that I told you – you heard me say before – it would be a matter of great discussion at my kitchen table when I was a kid growing up. It’s affecting a lot of families."

He said that he has released over 257 million barrels of oil, but "it’s not been enough." He added that "this is going to be a haul" and will take some time, but the best thing he can do, "in addition to try to get the Middle Eastern countries, including OPEC, to raise their production of oil and move along that route," is grow the economy and create jobs.

Nowhere in the press briefing does he admit that he has plotted to keep gas prices at $5 or has raised gas prices intentionally. USA TODAY reached out to the White House for comment.

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Experts have previously told USA TODAY rising gas prices are due in large part to refinery capacity limitations from the pandemic. Reduced demand for gas at the start of the pandemic meant refineries cut back on the production of crude oil and closed their plants. But with COVID-19 restrictions easing over time, travel increased and the demand for crude oil increased, with refineries unable to immediately keep up.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Biden admits that $5 gas is intentional at a press briefing. Biden did not admit anything of the sort, and his comments during the press briefing indicate that he has focused on reducing gas prices.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Biden didn't say he was pushing for $5 gas