Transport Secretary Again Trying to Sell ‘Pain’ of High Gas Prices as a ‘Benefit’

Buttigieg points out “benefit” of driving electric vehicles.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is being criticized for belittling the gas crisis in the United States.
  • When faced with questions from Republicans about record-high gas prices in June, Buttigieg said he believes the prices are serving a purpose.
  • The administration official said Tuesday that the more “pain” Americans experience due to gas prices “the more benefit there is” for electric vehicle owners. 
  • The transportation secretary made his comments while testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the transition to clean energy production.
  • Buttigieg was representing the administration’s initiative to create an environment where 50% of all auto sales in the United States are electric vehicles by 2030.
BUTTIGIEG’S EXCHANGE WITH REPUBLICANS:
  • “The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicle,” Buttigieg said Tuesday during the hearing.
  • “So you’re saying the more pain we have, the more benefit we’re gonna get?” Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., asked. “I think that’s what I heard you say.”
  • Buttigieg shot back, “Of course – no, no, that’s what you heard me say. I know you want me to say it so bad but honestly, sir, what we’re saying is we could have no pain at all by making EVs cheaper for everyone.”
  • “It would take four times as much electricity to charge the average household’s cars as the average household uses on air conditioning,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told Buttigieg at another point in the hearing. “So if we reach the goal by 2030 that Biden has, of a fifty percent adoption [of electric vehicles] instead of one hundred percent adoption, that means the average household would use twice as much electricity charging one of their cars as they would use for all of the air conditioning that they use for the entire year,” Massie said.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asserted that “the cruelty is the point,” when responding to Buttigieg’s comments about the price of gas.
BACKGROUND:
  • President Joe Biden has simultaneously blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the hike in gas prices, taken credit for dips in the prices and claimed that the prices were part of an “incredible transition.”
  • Tuesday the president said his initiatives have put around $25 back in Americans’ pockets, despite the national average price of gas being more than double what it was when Biden took office.