"I know a lot of people are struggling," Pastor Steven Allman said. "I understand the desperation," he admitted. But Allman, who heads up the Leeds Community Church in Maine, was still shocked that his parish's outside fuel container -- which can hold about 200 gallons -- had been completely drained and stolen. A member of the congregation made the discovery when people arrived to a "freezing cold" sanctuary Sunday morning. These are difficult times, Allman shook his head. And until Joe Biden changes course, there's no end in sight.
From Chicago to Los Angeles, police are getting calls around the clock. Residents like Marcela Mena will be out running errands, only to get back to their cars, turn the ignition, and see a low fuel alert. "It's hard," she admitted. "Gas prices are high... [It's] heartbreaking." Other families have had the gas siphoned right out of the cars sitting in their driveways. At gas stations themselves, workers talk about the lengths thieves will go to. "There have been reports of people siphoning gas directly out of the tanks putting a hose down into the gas tank, sucking [it] out," Emery Shen told CBS. "We are also hearing reports of people drilling right in the gas tanks, taking gas out of cars directly."
This is the kind of nationwide madness that Joe Biden's backwards energy policy has created. But instead of acknowledging the crisis and confronting it, this president is stuck in the same gear: blaming someone else. As recently as Monday, Biden tried to convince voters that the "big reason for inflation is Vladimir Putin and gas prices." "Not a joke," he added -- as if realizing that most Americans would see it as one. The war in Ukraine added some instability to the global market, to be sure. But as everyone with half a brain knows, prices in America skyrocketed long before Putin put a single tank on the border.
To suggest that the $1.10 spike in gas "just happened" is "absurd," Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) argued on "Washington Watch." "People have been [seeing] inflation go through the roof for the last year and a half... That's what happens when you keep printing money on the printing press, when the Federal Reserve is financing all this new spending. The price of gas was up dramatically already a month ago. The price of metals, the price of food, the price of cars, the price of housing -- everything was up a month ago."
One look at this inflation graph from Heritage Foundation's Andy Puzder, and it's obvious: "This is Biden, not Putin." Russia's war may have come at a convenient time for the president, who's desperate for a lightning rod other than the Democratic Party, but facts are facts. And unfortunately for this White House, Americans are living the reality -- not the spin.
Of course, the New York Times and other outlets are doing their best to deflect some of the blame being lobbed at the administration. They pinned the rap for low oil production on the pandemic (which is partially true, since most of the country was locked down), but bucked the claim that America became energy independent under Donald Trump or that Biden's crackdown on drilling and the Keystone Pipeline helped put us in this mess. "The claims about oil and gas leases are even more incorrect," Linda Qiu wrote, repeating the president's line that Biden has approved more of these permits than Trump.
Dan Eberhart, a chief executive officer at Canary, an oilfield drilling company, insists that the White House and its apologists are missing the point. It's the whole picture of radical Green policy and regulation -- not just a number of drilling leases -- that matters. "I think that's just some kind of Washington-speak," he said. "... [T]he permits have been coming out of the Biden administration slower than they were coming out during Trump by a lot," Eberhart said. "Second of all, the industry is facing... problems other companies have all across the U.S. We don't have enough labor. We can't buy pickup trucks. I can't get studs, nuts, bolts. Stuff from China is six weeks instead of three weeks. We have all the same kinds of issues facing us. And thirdly, the [Biden] administration's got a moratorium on drilling on federal land. They're not allowing pipelines -- which, given what's going on with some clearing rules -- makes it harder to drill in certain places... They keep throwing wet blankets at us, but now, expect us to stand up and do more."
As for where we were under Donald Trump, "The United States in 2020 was the biggest oil producer in the world and also the biggest consumer," the Energy Information Administration confirms. By 2021, America had slipped to third place in oil production -- behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. That's an eight percent drop (or 12 million barrels) from 2019. The Left would have us believe that's a coincidence. It's not, and neither is our sudden reliance on Russian and outside oil.
Two years ago, the U.S. imported about 1.3 percent of its crude oil from Putin. Under Biden, we imported eight percent. In other words, we're producing less and consuming and importing more. And two-thirds of that equation is the direct result of decisions made by this administration to put fanatical environmentalists above everyday Americans. Just this week, the president promised to use his executive powers -- not to free up and de-regulate American oil production -- but to take "aggressive action" on climate change. Not surprisingly, Breitbart notes, "the president did not talk about how his climate change policies could raise costs further for Americans suffering the punishing inflation rates and a spike in energy prices."
Meanwhile, in Leeds, Maine, the community has rallied -- donating hundreds of dollars to refill the church's tank. Pastor Allman says he's overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. In times like these, he went on, "we're seeing the best and worst of people." And that's true of our nation's leadership too. Let's hope the Biden administration rallies to refill America's tanks -- before it's too late.