gas prices

Can Anything Be Done to Lower Gas Prices?

Gas prices have many grimacing at the pump these days.

Connecticut's average is now at $3.54 a gallon, according to AAA. That's up 24 cents from a month ago, and up $1.41 from a year ago.

The issue, many experts remind us, is simple supply and demand. But what does that really mean?

Oksan Bayulgen, a political science professor at UConn, said this has to do with post-pandemic recovery and trying to get the economy back on track.

We can also point the finger at coal shortages in Asia and at geo-politics.

But most people just want to know when gas prices will finally drop again. Unfortunately, experts say don't expect that anytime soon.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal believes he might have a solution. He and some other senators signed a letter to President Biden, saying "we ask that you consider all tools available at your disposal to lower u.s. gasoline prices. This includes a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports."

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is only used in emergencies and has only even been used a few times, like after extreme hurricanes or global disasters. It's the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, and only the president can decide whether to tap into it.

"My personal opinion, and I think a lot of experts are also talking about it, that I've been seeing is that it's such a short term solution," explained Professor Bayulgen. "It's almost like a bandaid on an undersupplied market. It might have very modest effects of depressing price, I read somewhere that there's, you know, what, according to one account, one reports, it could be reduced price by $3 a barrel for a short period of time. But it's not a long-term solution, right? It's not a lasting solution, as long as we have this imbalance between supply and demand."

Bayulgen said there are other longer-term solutions, such as reducing gas taxes.

"They can reduce gas taxes, gasoline taxes, they can subsidize households to offset the price increases, which is also happening, by the way, stay at the state level. They can ease some of the drilling moratoriums on oil and gas, they can reduce some of the regulation around it. But they don't want to do that either, because that runs against the whole class, Biden administration's climate sort of plans and legislation. So they're sort of caught in a difficult place here," Bayulgen said.

Contact Us