Joe Biden is running for a second term and really wants to drive the best poll number he can.
However, he has a problem: history shows that the economy will be a factor if he wins or losses in 2024.
And that means one thing: gas prices could be a major factor if he wins the White House.
It Could Doom His 2024 Chances – Joe Biden Has One Thing He Needs to Watch Closely
Newsweek is reporting that gas prices may interfere with President Joe Biden’s reelection chances. Why? Because Saudi Arabia has announced intentions to further cut oil production in a “unilateral attempt to rise the price of crude.”
“The cuts,” Newsweek reported, “equal to 1 million barrels per day starting in July, are likely to send shockwaves through the global market, including the United States – though the consequences might be felt six to eight months from now, according to experts.” If accurate, the timing would be inconvenient for a president running for reelection.
Gas prices have been down
As of June 6, AAA listed the US retail gasoline average at $3.55 per gallon – a full $1.36 below the average from last summer, which of course is a benefit to Biden. And in the short-term future, gas prices seem unlikely to rise significantly.
“There isn’t much concern of an immediate and major rise in oil and gasoline prices,” Patrick De Haan, a petroleum analyst, told Newsweek.
Denton Cinquegrana, another oil analyst, agreed. “I have been saying this for some time now but as the calendar stretches into the summer, I believe the chance of $4 per gallon is limited, outside of a big catalyst like a hurricane knocking out refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The market reaction to the Saudi cut has been ‘meh.’”
Cinquegrana continued, “The unilateral cuts by Saudi Arabia feels like a 1-month trial balloon for July. That is also a time of year where the Saudis use a lot of oil for domestic purposes and air conditioning. The initial market reaction was strong, but the market sputtered from there. I do think that the impact on retail gasoline prices in the U.S. will be limited at best from the Saudi cuts. While U.S. inventories are below seasonal norms, the market seems quite comfortable from a supply and demand standpoint.”
Biden wary of gas prices
Biden’s popularity took a hit earlier in his administration as gas prices surged to record highs; Biden no doubt appreciates the tendency of voters to focus on immediate pocketbook issues, like gas prices, when considering who to put in office next. Indeed, incumbent presidents are vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. Often, an incumbent’s chances of reelection seem tied directly to the economic climate within which the candidate runs for reelection. And economic conditions have seemed to serve as a gauge of an incumbent’s chances.
Incumbents who lost all had economic problems. Gerald Ford ran against high inflation. Jimmy Carter ran against high inflation and high unemployment. George H.W. Bush ran against an economic downturn. And Donald Trump of course, ran against the COVID pandemic and the corresponding economic fallout. All were one-term presidents, and while other factors contributed to each defeat (Ford pardoned Nixon, Carter failed to extract US hostages from Iran, Bush checked his watch during a debate, and Trump was Trump), a hampered economy seems to be the common denominator.
Could gas prices creep up again?
Both De Haan and Cinquegrana told Newsweek that gas prices could spike later in the calendar year. Bear in mind, both experts hedged their bets; neither guaranteed gas prices would spike.
“The cuts have more long-term implications,” De Haan said.
“The risk increases down the road,” Cinquegrana added.
Without question, the Biden administration will be eyeing gas prices as closely as anyone.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.