Some 64 percent of respondents in a CBS News poll believe the U.S. economy is in bad shape. Of these, 74 percent are blaming the bad economy on high prices at the pump, the news outlet reported.
According to the poll results, about 50 percent of Americans are worried about being able to afford to fill up their cars.
The biggest concern of all, unsurprisingly, is inflation, for which the majority blames the supply chain problems caused by the pandemic. A smaller majority also blames the labor shortage, which has led to an increase in labor costs.
In October, U.S. gas prices were 50 percent higher than they were in October 2020 amid rising inflation and rallying oil prices. In California, which tends to have the most expensive gasoline in the country, the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit $6 last month. The national average was $3.38 per gallon, according to NBC News.
The price trends in gasoline have worried the White House enough for the president to repeatedly call on OPEC to boost production more quickly and to threaten it with as of yet unspecified consequences when the cartel refused to heed the request.
Recently, Biden also wrote to the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission requesting an investigation into potential illegal conduct on the part of U.S. oil companies.
There is allegedly “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil-and-gas companies,” the president wrote, noting the fact that while unblended gasoline prices were down by more than 5 percent over the last month, finished gasoline prices were 3 percent higher over the period.
“This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” Biden wrote. “Meanwhile, the largest oil-and-gas companies in America are generating significant profits off higher energy prices.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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