The Biden administration announced it was ditching plans for sales of offshore oil and gas leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico hours before pump prices for motorists hit a new average high of $4.42 across the United States on Thursday.
It will increase questions about whether President Joe Biden and his team understand the pressures facing Americans as they struggle to keep their cars running.
And it effectively ends any chance of the federal government selling leases in coastal waters this year, delivering a win for environmental campaigners even after Biden has talked up the need to increase energy supply during the war in Ukraine.
Republicans condemned the decision.
‘Gas prices are the highest ever recorded and the Biden administration cancels an Alaska oil and gas lease sale? This has got to stop,’ said former Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter.
‘Unleash American energy Joe!’
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted: ‘It’s day 477 of the Biden administration, we have record gas prices, and they have STILL NOT LEASED ONE ACRE OF LAND TO DRILL OIL.’
The decision ends plans to drill for oil in more than one million acres of the Cook Inlet in Alaska.
The Biden administration announced it was ditching plans for a massive sale of energy drilling rights just as gas prices hit a high for the third day running – this time reaching $4.42 on Thursday according to motoring organization AAA