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Russian President Vladimir Putin and the oil industry are the ones to blame for high prices at the pump, according to a survey by Ipsos and ABC News.
The survey, carried out among 530 Americans last week, showed that 71 percent of them blamed Putin for the high domestic gas prices while 68 percent blamed the oil industry. A little over half, 52 percent, blamed the policies of the Democratic party for the high prices, and 51 percent blamed President Joe Biden specifically.
A third of the respondents placed the blame on Republican policies, and 24 percent said high prices at the pump were Donald Trump's fault.
Another finding from the poll was that about half of the respondents were suffering financial hardship because of higher gas prices. Of these, 21 percent said the hardship was serious,
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline stood at $4.116 as of Sunday, according to the AAA. That was down from $4.318 a month ago but a lot higher than the national average a year ago, which stood at $2.865 per gallon.
The White House has tried everything to rein in prices, from calling on OPEC to produce more to releasing millions of barrels of crude from the strategic petroleum reserve, to, most recently, calling on the local oil industry to boost production. This has appeared to be challenging for the industry due to the lingering effects of pandemic supply chain disruptions and shortages.
This has not stopped Congress from seeking to blame the industry for high prices. In a hearing last week, the House subcommittee on energy and commerce summoned half a dozen Big Oil executives to explain themselves.
"We will not sit back and allow the fossil-fuel industry to take advantage of the American people and gouge them at the pump," the WSJ quoted Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, who chairs the subcommittee, as saying ahead of the hearing.
The hearing did not end with anything particularly productive: Big Oil explained that exploration and production companies were not the ones setting retail fuel prices and that there was a host of factors at play in these prices, few of them under the control of the upstream industry.
The latest move by the Biden administration to motivate more oil production has been a proposal to make American oil companies pay fees on wells from leases they have not used in years and on acres "that they are hoarding without producing," as part of a plan to respond to "Putin's price hike at the pump."
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com