Last Updated on September 13, 2022
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen admitted that gas prices could surge again this winter after weeks of decline. Prices have slowly decreased from record-highs after President Biden began tapping into the nation’s strategic oil reserves, a vital supply meant to fuel the U.S. military in the event of a major conflict.
Yellen admitted Sunday that there was a “risk” prices could surge again come winter. She cited continuing energy concerns in Europe, where much of the continent is dealing with surging costs as lack of supply. A number of European Union member states, including Germany, have historically maintained a heavy reliance on Russian energy exports, the bulk of which have been cut off as a result of E.U. sanctions on the Kremlin.
“It’s a risk and it’s a risk that we’re working on the price cap to try to address,” Yellen said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “This winter, the European Union will cease, for the most part, buying Russian oil and in addition, they will ban the provision of services that enable Russia to ship oil by tanker. It is possible that could cause a spike in oil prices.”
“Our price cap proposal is designed to both lower Russian revenues that they use to support their economy and fight this illegal war while also maintaining Russian oil supplies to hold down global oil prices,” Yellen added.
WATCH: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying the #inflation is set to be under control and will reverse as gas prices fall. "Gas prices have been coming down now for almost the last three months. pic.twitter.com/k7vyovnB7k
— BNN Ghana (@BNNGHnews) September 13, 2022
After surging past a national average of over $5 per gallon this past June, gas prices have steadily dropped in recent months. The national average now sits at $3.76 per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA. Despite the decline, prices are still higher than they were a year ago, when the national average sat at $3.175.
In order to combat the surging prices under his administration, Joe Biden opened the nation’s emergency oil reserves for sale. Over 200 million barrels have so far been sold to foreign competitors, including China.
America’s strategic oil reserve now contains less than 450 million barrels, its lowest point since 1984.
Biden and other administration officials have attempted to claim credit for falling gas prices in recent weeks. As prices soared past record-highs in June, the administration placed all the blame on Vladimir Putin and the conflict in Ukraine, however. The Biden White House branded gas prices and inflation woes as the “Putin Price Hike.”
During her CNN appearance, Janet Yellen also told viewers that the United States was not in the midst of a recession despite two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, which constitutes the official definition of a recession.
“We’re not in a recession,” Yellen said. “The labor market is exceptionally strong, the unemployment rate extremely low. There are almost two job vacancies for every worker who’s looking for a job. We’ve had a historically fast recovery of the labor market, with around 10 million jobs created since President Biden took office.”