Soaring gas prices in purple states such as Nevada and Arizona could tip the upcoming midterm elections to Republicans as Democrats face potential voter backlash over inflation and soaring living costs.
Fuel prices in political battlegrounds have remained stubbornly high, according to consumer watchdog GasBuddy.
In the first half of October, the average price of a gallon of gas was $5.38 in Nevada, where polls cited by the Politico news site show Republican candidate for the US Senate seat, Adam Laxalt, tied with incumbent Democrat, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
Gas prices in Nevada are the fourth highest in the nation, according to GasBuddy. The data was cited by Bloomberg News.
Arizona motorists faced the seventh highest gas prices in the nation during the first half of October, according to GasBuddy. The average price of a gallon of regular fuel in the Grand Canyon State has set drivers back $4.47 in the first two weeks of this month.
Recent polls show a tight race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly and GOP challenger Blake Masters.
Another key battleground state, Michigan, has also had to bear the brunt of rising gasoline prices.
Gasoline prices in Michigan are up more than 100% since 2020. The average price of a gallon of gas has set Michiganders back $4.26 this month, GasBuddy reported.
Pollsters say the Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nevada are “hits” – meaning they can go either way.
All of those states have seen gasoline prices rise between 55% and 104% from two years ago, when Democrats took control of the White House and the Legislature.
On Friday, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $3.82, nearly 50 cents higher than this time a year ago, according to AAA.
Earlier this week, President Biden announced the release of an additional 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, although he denied it was a desperate ploy to drive down oil prices. gasoline just before voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections.
White House officials told reporters ahead of the announcement that higher-than-usual corporate profits account for about 60 cents of the current gasoline price per gallon.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Biden said the federal government would begin to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when the price of oil hits $70 a barrel.
Former President Donald Trump tried to add 77 million barrels to the reserve in 2020 when oil was around $20 a barrel, but congressional Democrats blocked the plan.
Biden claimed in his remarks that he had done nothing to hamper US oil production – despite taking several steps to limit oil exploration, drilling and transportation last year.
Additional reporting by Steven Nelson
New York Post