Oil industry insiders say Biden will need to make big changes to bring down gas prices in Utah

(File photo: A filler nozzle pumps fuel into the gas tank of a tractor-trailer at a Phillips 66 gas station in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(File photo: A filler nozzle pumps fuel into the gas tank of a tractor-trailer at a Phillips 66 gas station in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — With gas prices in Utah already rising, many drivers are expressing concern about how the Russian oil supply blockage will hurt them at the gas pump. Some oil industry experts say the Biden administration can do things to keep prices low. However, the president is expected to make major policy changes, quickly.

If you were to speak with rideshare drivers, many would say they are furious at the rising gas prices. Driver Marwan Aleiwe says he was already struggling to make ends meet because of global inflation. And a sharp rise in gas prices might be too much for him to bear. He hopes President Biden can increase the supply of crude oil coming into the United States, and Aleiwe doesn’t care where he comes from.

“As long as he gets the oil to us and we set the price, that’s all I care about because we can’t keep paying seven or eight dollars a gallon,” he said.

Aleiwe hopes that the Ukrainian/Russian conflict can be resolved quickly. However, his concerns about maintaining his family must come first.

He said, “I don’t care. All I care about is my economy and my American people.

Other rideshare drivers posted messages on social media saying things like, “I haven’t been able to drive lately due to personal issues and the cost of gas. I hope to start driving again soon” and “So you’ll spend more money on fuel and get paid even less. What joke. Carpooling is proving to be a dying industry.

What can be done to reduce gas prices?

Officials from the Utah Petroleum Association have sent KSL a statement indicating that the US oil and gas industry is ready to increase production and that increased crude oil supply is expected to lower gas prices. However, that is easier said than done.

The statement reads: “However, the process of increasing production is not as immediate as flipping a switch and can be quite variable depending on land and resource ownership and the status of ‘authorisation.”

Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma said US oil companies are able to produce enough crude oil to fill the void created by the Russian supply ban. She says the companies were producing more than a million barrels a day more than they are today. And if production were to increase, the Biden administration would have to make significant changes. However, Sgamma says that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.

She said: “We wish he was, indeed, ‘working like the devil’ to increase American production in order to drive down gas prices.”

Oil leases will be extended

For example, she says President Biden should allow oil lease extensions. Additionally, it should allow companies to develop more wells, as the vast majority of oil produced from wells occurs in the first few years after it is created. As things stand, Sgamma says the United States is too dependent on foreign oil. And a lot of American money went to Russia.

“US dollars funded the Russian military to the tune of about $100 million a day. That’s what we spent the last few months on Russian oil,” she said.

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