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The White House's take on fuel prices in Wyoming

The White House at night.
Saul Loeb
/
AFP/Getty Images

This year, inflation has reached a 40-year high, and it has largely been felt at the gas pump. Those in Washington D.C. have ideas about how to tackle inflation, especially in rural areas like Wyoming.

At one point this summer, the average price of gas in Wyoming was 27 cents more per gallon than the U.S. average, which is hard on Wyomingites. People notoriously have to drive far distances to get to work, school, hospitals and grocery stores.

Jared Bernstein, who’s a member of the Council of Economic Advisers for the White House, has been focusing on fuel prices. He said gas prices are slowly coming down, he said that is largely because of Biden’s decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserves this spring.

“We’ve seen in Wyoming, we’ve seen the price of gas fall from $4.90 a gallon to $3.70 a gallon, so that’s some breathing room,” Bernstein said.

But, diesel prices in Wyoming have hardly budged with the average consistently over $5 a gallon. Bernstein said oil refinery capacity is key to bringing those prices down.

“That’s where we have a real log jam,” he said. “And so we need companies to invest in more refining.”

There are three operational oil refineries in Wyoming. Governor Mark Gordon appointed a group of lawmakers and industry leaders to his Gas and Diesel Working Group to address the high prices. They found that increasing refinery capacity at the three operational oil refineries in Wyoming could be helpful. They suggested streamlining the permitting process, providing backstop funding and creating incentives to keep existing refining capacity. Gordon encouraged the 2023 legislature to consider all those ideas.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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