Gas Prices Could Jump Again If China Opens After Covid-19 Lockdowns, Sec. Granholm Warns

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
August 22, 2022 Updated: August 22, 2022

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has cautioned that gas prices could surge if China opens up significantly after strict COVID-19 lockdowns within the country.

Granholm made the comments on “Fox News Sunday,” where she noted that while the Biden administration is hopeful gas prices will continue to fall, the United States is “at the whim of what happens globally.”

“If China opens up significantly after COVID, there will be more pressure on demand. More pressure on demand means upward pressure on prices,” Granholm said. “So we’re watching what happens globally. But we are doing everything possible to try to stabilize supply and demand to try to keep those prices coming down.”

China is currently experiencing a resurgence of COVID cases, which has prompted officials to impose strict lockdowns as part of Beijing’s Covid Zero policy.

The country reported 1,985 new coronavirus cases for Aug. 21, of which 427 were symptomatic and 1,558 were asymptomatic, China’s National Health Commission said on Monday.

As of Aug. 21, China had confirmed 239,851 cases with symptoms; however, the capital of Beijing reported zero cases.

While China’s reopening after COVID lockdowns could impact gas prices, Granholm on Sunday touted the steps that President Joe Biden has taken to increase the supply of gas in the United States, pointing to his decision to release a million barrels a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and call on both domestic and international oil and gas companies to boost production.

Secretary Granholm also said the Biden administration is hopeful that gas prices will decrease even further by the end of the year.

“We will be at record amounts of production next year,” she said, estimating that production to be around 12.7 million barrels per day.

“All of that is to say our Energy Information Administration has projected that by the fourth quarter, gas prices will be around $3.78 on average. Today, they’re at $3.90. They have fallen every day of this summer. We’re hopeful that will continue.”

Buy Solar Panels to Lower Energy Costs

Also on Sunday, Granholm faced criticism after urging Americans who are struggling with the increased cost of living to lower their energy bills by installing solar panels, which will come with a 30 percent price reduction under the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“If you are low income, you can get your home entirely weatherized through the expansion from the bipartisan infrastructure laws, a significant expansion—you don’t have to pay for anything,” Granholm said of the IRA.  “If you want heat pumps, insulation, new windows, that is covered. If you are moderate income, today you can get 30 percent off the price of solar panels. Those solar panels can be financed, so you don’t have to have the big outlay at the front … It’s a significant incentive.”

Those who do not qualify for the “weatherization program” will be able to, beginning next year, get rebates on the appliances and equipment that enable them to reduce their monthly energy bill by up to 30 percent, she said, adding, “That is all about reducing costs for people.”

However, with American households already buckling under the weight of increased food and housing costs, Granholm’s remarks were criticized by experts, including Jake Schneider, the deputy director of rapid response at the Republican National Committee (RNC).

“People can’t afford gas or groceries, but at least they can get a tax credit (six to 12 months from now) for weatherizing their homes. Just what the American people are asking for!” Schneider wrote on Twitter.

Elsewhere the RNC’s Tommy Pigott said Granholm’s comments were the “perfect example about how Democrats don’t care about rising costs, only their Green New Deal.”

“Food is rising at the fastest pace since 1979, and Biden’s response is to push you to buy solar panels,” Pigott added.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.