Rising Gas Prices Provide Fodder for Republican Criticism of Biden

The big headache of President Biden’s Summer of 2022 — high gasoline prices — may once again bedevil him this week.

Gas prices jumped by about 25 cents a gallon nationally from mid-July to mid-August, topping out around $3.87 per gallon before receding slightly into September. The national average price of gas was $3.85 per gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA.

That increase is expected to fuel a rise in headline inflation for August in the Consumer Price Index report due out Wednesday morning. It will almost certainly provoke criticism from Republicans who hammered Mr. Biden over high gas prices throughout last summer.

Prices at the pump remain well below their peak in June 2022, when a gallon of gas cost more than $5 on average. That spike was largely the result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Mr. Biden has since sought to reduce price pressures through a variety of measures, including releasing millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Prices fell steadily last summer, a development that Mr. Biden celebrated.

Administration officials continue to tout that progress, using last June as a benchmark. “If you look at what we’ve been able to do from last summer to this summer — lowering gas prices by a dollar twenty cents, that is because of the work that this administration has done,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters last week.

Still, gas prices are now more than a dime per gallon higher than they were at the same point last year. After months of helping to reduce the year-over-year headline inflation rate, gas prices are set to boost the rate in the August data. White House officials are bracing for that development, and the Republicans critiques that will accompany it.