Energy Secretary’s Warning About a ‘Tough Summer’ Signals Concern About Gas Prices

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned that it will be a “tough summer,” as gas prices will likely continue to rise.

According to the June short-term outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price per gallon of gas will be around $4.27 in the third quarter — but Granholm warns that could be “upended” by other factors.

“That is — it’s a forecast that is based on assumptions that could be completely upended with world events,” she said. “For example, if the EU decides it, too, is going to fully ban Russian oil, that will create upward pressure on prices. If China does open up sooner than is predicted, that, too, will — listen, far be it for me to say any firm date, I can just say what experts are projecting. We know this is going to be a tough summer because the driving season just started and there will be continued upward pull on demand.”

Granholm noted that President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia is a factor, stating that the president “has asked for all suppliers around the globe to increase production.”

The show’s host, Dana Bash, appeared to be upset by Biden’s plans to visit the Middle Eastern nation, but not because the U.S. should be focusing on domestic production of oil. Instead, Bash pushed Granholm to “explain” to the American people why it is “appropriate for a U.S. president to meet with a dictator who murdered and chopped up a journalist, to do that when it comes to human rights, given what he has said before about it.”

Granholm responded by claiming that she is sure that Biden will bring up concerns about human rights abuses, but reminding the CNN host that he’s also “very concerned about what people are experiencing at the pump.”

“Saudi Arabia is head of OPEC,” the energy secretary added. “We need to have increased production so that everyday citizens in America will not be feeling this pain that they’re feeling right now. So, all around the world, he is asking for people to increase production, but especially our own oil and gas producers.”

Bash is technically correct in pointing out Biden’s hypocrisy surrounding traveling to Saudi Arabia, as the president previously promised to make the nation a “pariah” following the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

As of Sunday, the national average price of a gallon of gas is $4.98, according to AAA. In several blue states, gas has reached $6 per gallon.