'Top Priority': Biden aims to get gas prices, other costs under control
BATON ROUGE - As filling up your tank continues to get more expensive, President Joe Biden said it was his "top priority" to get prices under control during Tuesday's State of the Union.
Several gas stations across Baton Rouge Tuesday advertised $3.39 per gallon for regular unleaded gas. A WBRZ crew found at least one station with a $3.59 price tag.
That's still below the national average, according to AAA. Nationally, the average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.61.
Biden acknowledged rising fuel costs during his speech from the Capitol Tuesday night.
"Too many families are struggling to keep up with their bills," Biden said. "Inflation is robbing them of gains they thought otherwise they'd be able to feel. I get it. That's why my top priority is getting prices under control."
According to AAA, as of Tuesday, the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas across Louisiana was $3.38. In East Baton Rouge Parish, the average rang in at $3.41, compared to $3.30 a week ago, $3.11 a month ago, and $2.37 one year ago.
"It's the ebbs and flows of our economy, and we do everything in our power to balance that when possible," Rep. Troy Carter, a Democrat who represents a portion of the Greater Baton Rouge area, said. "The price of a barrel of oil fluctuates, therefore it impacts the price of fuel at the gas pump. The economy challenge, war challenge, there are so many moving variables that impact what prices look like."
The latest maneuver to try to get a hold on fuel prices, announced Tuesday, is a group effort. The U.S., along with several allies, will open up its reserves. A total of 60 million barrels will be released, with 30 million coming from U.S. reserves in Texas and Louisiana.
"These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home," Biden said. "But, I know news of what's happening can be alarming to all Americans. But, I want you to know, we're going to be OK. We're going to be OK."
Rep. Garret Graves, whose district includes much of East Baton Rouge Parish, blasted that plan.
"The Biden administration's strategic petroleum reserve announcement today is like using Flex Seal to plug a hole on the Hoover Dam," Graves said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "It may make them feel like they are doing something, but it is not a long-term solution."
In an interview earlier in the day with WBRZ, Graves said the current approach needs to be overhauled.
"It's gonna take some big changes in this administration's energy policies, to where we can use Louisiana crude instead of Russian crude, for example," Graves said. "We've got to make changes to these policies to where we're not out there, effectively, forcing American consumers to pay for Russian aggression in Ukraine."