Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged Wednesday to lower gas prices to $2 per gallon if he wins the White House next year, an ambitious claim that energy analysts say is unrealistic because of a president’s lack of control over the global oil market.
As part of a new energy agenda unveiled in oil-rich Texas, the 2024 Republican presidential candidate vowed to be “laser-focused on reducing gas prices and energy costs,” including $2-per-gallon gas by 2025 with more domestic oil production.
Mr. DeSantis’ energy proposal also includes plans to roll back President Biden’s policies and tax credits promoting electric vehicles, energy efficiency standards for household appliances, net-zero commitments and to expeditiously greenlight new energy projects.
“We will reignite American energy dominance, save the American automobile and assure American energy security,” Mr. DeSantis said. “High energy prices are the enemy of the poor.”
The average price for a gallon of gas was $3.88 as of Wednesday, according to AAA. That’s roughly 20 cents more than one year ago.
However, presidents have minimal short-term impact on prices at the pump due to global factors outside their sway, in addition to private companies controlling U.S. production. Current elevated gas and oil prices have been exacerbated by output cuts from OPEC+ countries Russia and Saudi Arabia — the world’s second-and third-largest oil producers with state-run industries — post-pandemic caution from domestic producers, strong global demand and the continued disruption of the flow of global oil due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
American producers are set to pump a record amount of oil by year’s end, despite Mr. Biden’s efforts to restrict fossil fuels as part of his climate change agenda.
Energy analysts say Mr. Biden’s environmental policies and contradictory messaging on oil production has created regulatory uncertainty, which can negatively affect long-term output and costs.
Patrick De Haan, a gas analyst and founder of the fuel price monitoring app GasBuddy, described Mr. DeSantis’ $2-per-gallon promise as “an absolute joke” and a “farce” because of global factors out of his reach.
“It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle anyone is on, what is critical here is that a presidential candidate is promising something he has no control over,” Mr. De Haan told The Washington Times. “It’s just asinine to suggest that his policies can lead to this price at the pump. There’s a lot of things that have to be considered.”
Those other considerations include things like state and federal gas taxes, shifting to a dirtier form of gasoline and easing EPA requirements.
Mr. De Haan also argued that such a low price point would undermine production incentive, particularly in the post-pandemic era where producers are weary of price dips.
“We live in a capitalist society,” he said. “If you suddenly create policies or drive down the price of the goods that that company produces… you’re going to disincentivize that company to produce as much of its product.”
Mr. DeSantis softened his $2 pledge when pressed by reporters at the unveiling of his energy plan, saying that “we think we can get close.”
“I think we can definitely get under $3 and towards $2, and the reality is we’re gonna have a very favorable environment for this,” he said. “What we’re announcing today, one of the main reasons we’re doing it is because the American people need relief at the pump.”
Mr. DeSantis further ridiculed the Biden administration’s green energy agenda as a way to “control you and to control your behavior.”
“They are trying to limit your choices as Americans,” he said. “We’ve seen a concerted effort to ramp up the fear when it comes to things like global warming and climate change.”