Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg was criticized earlier this week for suggesting that higher prices at the pump were actually beneficial for the move to electric vehicles. But Buttigieg appeared to be singing a different tune on Thursday by touting a drop in gas prices.
“Good morning! Gas prices are going down,” Buttigieg tweeted.
The national average gas price was about $4.40 as of Thursday — down from about $4.60 a week earlier and about $4.97 a month before that. Still, the national average remained significantly higher than a year ago at $3.16. The price of gas on January 20, 2021 — the day President Biden took office — was about $2.39.
Buttigieg has been criticized repeatedly for his comments about electric vehicles, suggesting that he was out of touch with the average American who can’t afford the luxuries.
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During an interview on a radio show last week, Buttigieg said the Biden administration was trying to cut the cost of electric vehicles “because if you have an electric vehicle, you also can save on gasbut you have to be able to afford it in the first place.”
And while testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier this week, Buttigieg said, “The more pain we all experience from the high gas price, the more benefit there is to those who have access to electric vehicles.”
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., urged Buttigieg on this point, asking, “So you’re saying the more pain we have, the more benefit we’ll get?”
“No, you heard me say that,” Buttigieg replied. “I know you want me to say it so badly, but frankly, sir, what we’re saying is we can’t hurt at all by making electric cars cheaper for everyone.”
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has repeatedly blamed rising gas prices and inflation in general on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February.
“Today’s inflation report confirms what Americans already know: Putin’s price hike is hitting America hard,” Biden said earlier this month, responding to a Labor Department announcement that inflation reached a new four-decade high in May.
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“Gas prices at the pump, energy and food prices account for half of the monthly price increases since May,” he said.
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays and Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.