images of gas nozzels and Americans for Prosperity "Bidenomics" over purple background
Andrea Austria/Media Matters 

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Fox News and Fox Business promote right-wing stunt to mislead voters about gas prices ahead of the election

Highlighting Americans for Prosperity’s campaign is just one way right-wing media are attacking Biden’s energy policy ahead of the 2024 election

  • In the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election, right-wing media are doubling down on deceptive messaging around gas prices to attack President Joe Biden — in part by promoting a campaign launched by Americans for Prosperity, the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers' conservative political advocacy group.

  • Americans for Prosperity has resurrected its nationwide campaign to convince voters that they are “paying more but getting less” because of the Biden administration — specifically when it comes to the gas pump

    • Ahead of Memorial Day, Americans for Prosperity launched its cross-country tour partnering with gas stations to offer lower prices, claiming it was combating “Biden’s war on American energy.” From May 20 to June 3, the group pledged to sell gas for a few hours a day at select stations in 16 states for $2.38 — “near the average price per gallon of gas on the day President Biden assumed office” — while the “national average for a gallon of gas hovering near $3.59 thanks to Bidenomics.” The campaign featured an AFP-branded van with a message painted on the side that said, “Bidenomics costing Americans over $11,400 a year.” [Fox Business, 5/20/24;, 5/20/24; Americans for Prosperity, 5/20/24]
    • The group also pulled this stunt in 2022 before the midterm elections to highlight “harmful government economic policies.” In 2022, AFP traveled to “more than 60 cities to connect people to the fact that this is Washington’s price hike: You’re paying more but getting less.” The campaign pushed a nearly identical message to the current, ongoing one, in addition to encouraging “solutions that unleash energy abundance, end wasteful spending, and ignite innovation.” [Americans for Prosperity, accessed 5/30/24; Fox Business, 4/6/22]
    • In 2022, Time magazine’s Philip Elliott wrote that the AFP campaign signaled a significant strategy shift for Koch organizations from “philosophy texts” to “more direct engagement” to get voters' attention. According to Elliott, going on the road represents “a clear encapsulation of the shifting strategy inside the Koch orbit’s many organizations, led in the political space through Americans For Prosperity. … Now, Koch strategists are starting to pivot to more direct engagement through digital targeting, mail, and some guerilla marketing that even a short time ago would be dismissed as low-brow tactics beneath the dignity of a high-minded network that distributes philosophy texts and disruption manifestos at its conferences.” [Time magazine, 8/2/22]
  • Gas prices have been relatively stable, and are determined by market forces and not presidents

    • Finance columnist Rick Newman wrote, “Market forces that no US president can control explain the recent history of oil and gas prices far more than anything Trump or Biden has done,” adding, “ Anybody who thinks Trump would take some kind of decisive action to lower energy prices if he wins a second presidential term is likely to end up deeply disappointed.” The article continues: “Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ nations have cut production during the last two years to keep prices high. … Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine created other snags in global energy flows, putting upward pressure on prices even now, more than two years later.” [Yahoo Finance, 5/2/24]
    • The Energy Information Administration says, “The United States produced more crude oil than any nation at any time ... for the past six years in a row,” adding, “The crude oil production record in the United States in 2023 is unlikely to be broken in any other country in the near term.” [U.S. Energy Information Administration, 3/11/24]
    • Gas prices have been steadily decreasing compared to 2022 and 2023, and this trend is expected to continue barring extreme weather. As of March, the average gas price was about 12 cents lower than it was in 2023, when “prices were $0.43 less … than in 2022 on average.” According to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan, prices should continue to fall “towards what most Americans would consider normal prices at the pump.” However, high summer temperatures and an intense Atlantic hurricane season might negatively impact energy markets. [Yahoo Finance, 3/16/24; CNN, 12/27/23; U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5/22/24; Bloomberg, 5/30/24]
  • Fox News and Fox Business propped up the AFP campaign “to highlight ‘Biden’s war on American energy’”

    • Fox Business promoted the PR stunt with the headline: “Conservative group partners with gas stations to highlight ‘Biden’s war on American energy’: Here’s how.” The article quoted Akash Chougule, AFP’s vice president of government affairs, who said, “From shutting down the Keystone Pipeline to banning energy leases on federal land, Joe Biden’s top-down policies have stifled our country’s energy resources and made even the things like a family road trip more expensive. … This week, we are spotlighting what gas prices could be with policies that unleash our country’s energy potential.” [, 5/20/24]
    • Fox host Lawrence Jones promoted the campaign on Fox & Friends and interviewed AFP’s vice president of government affairs, Akash Chougule. Showing a map of all the cities where AFP is traveling, Lawrence said, “As Americans struggle with high inflation and gas prices, one conservative group [is] reminding them how much cheaper it was to fill up the car before Biden took office.” Chougule then said that “Americans don't need to be told life is expensive. What we’re doing is explaining to them why it’s expensive, and the reason is Bidenomics — the $6 trillion in additional spending, thousands of pages in regulations that are making their life costlier.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/21/24]
    • Fox Business host Cheryl Casone discussed the campaign and quoted AFP: “Biden’s war on American energy has had disastrous results and Americans are reeling from high gas prices going into the summer.” Casone continued, “From shutting down the Keystone pipeline to banning energy leases on federal land, Joe Biden’s top-down policies have stifled our country’s energy resources and made even things like a family road trip more expensive.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends First, 5/21/24]
    • On Fox & Friends, Jones said that AFP is getting gas prices “back to when Trump was there,” claiming that “it’s all tied to the green energy policy of Joe Biden.” “Yesterday we had AFP on,” Jones said. “They are going to about 30 to 40 different gas stations and they’re paying for the gas to get back to when Trump was there to show Americans what life was about. But they did some analysis on why the gas prices are going up and it’s all tied to the green energy policy of Joe Biden.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/22/24]
    • On Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast To Coast, a chyron read, “Americans for Prosperity offers gas at ‘pre-Biden’ prices.” Fox White House correspondent Edward Lawrence asked Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) about the campaign: “Last week, you pumped gas as the group Americans for Prosperity rolled back prices at [a] station in Wyoming to the levels of when before President Biden took office, when former President Trump was in office. What was that about?” In response, Lummis blamed the Biden administration for “not producing as much as we need to have prices that the American people can afford within their own budgets.” [Fox Business, Cavuto: Coast To Coast, 5/28/24]
  • The AFP stunt is just the latest example in a drumbeat of right-wing media coverage trying to pin high gas prices solely on Biden

    • On Fox, former Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore dismissed record oil production to claim that the Biden administration is responsible for high gas prices. Moore said that “Biden has massively increased spending on these green energy programs like solar energy, like wind energy, like battery energy, and yet we’re still using record amounts of fossil fuels,” claiming that “the worst way to deal with our high gas prices is to diminish and deplete our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/22/24]
    • After the Biden administration announced last year that it would cancel seven oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald asked whether Biden “really wants like $10 gas? I mean, who is he president of? Is he president of us or his climate change political donor base, because now we’re going to have to import more oil.” [Fox Business, The Evening Edit, 9/7/23]
    • Fox contributor Tammy Bruce said Biden canceled the leases because “they want people to drive less, and having gas prices be high, they figure, is going to do that.” “When you cut those leases, it signals to everyone that, you know, you are not really serious about making sure we are energy independent,” Bruce said. “You think those polls are bad now? Gasoline will continue and it is going up again. So will home heating oil prices.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 9/7/23]
    • On America’s Newsroom, Fox anchor Sandra Smith suggested that Biden is blaming oil companies instead of taking responsibility for high gas prices. “It's been OPEC, it's been now the Saudis, it's been Vladimir Putin, and most recently it's also been pinning a lot of blame on the oil companies themselves,” Smith said. “The president has been putting the onus on the oil companies, that he told he was going to bring the end of the fossil fuel industry, to ramp up their production.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 10/14/22]
    • Climate contrarian and frequent Fox News guest Michael Shellenberger claimed that “by working against domestic oil production, it’s Biden who has allowed the Russians & Saudis to raise gas prices.” [Twitter/X, 10/7/22]
  • Right-wing media also recently took aim at Biden’s Energy Department for releasing 1 million barrels of gasoline from reserve sites in New Jersey and Maine, often conflating the temporary Northeast sites with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    • While the reserve was initially created for emergencies like Superstorm Sandy, Congress mandated the sale in March as part of a spending package to prevent a government shutdown. According to The Washington Post, “A 2022 report by the Government Accountability Office said the gasoline reserve, which has never been tapped, would provide minimal relief during a severe shortage. The reserve costs about $19 million a year to maintain.” [The Washington Post, 5/21/24]
    • The administration has stated that the release was timed to help lower gas prices, but it will likely only have a minimal impact for most of the country. “The Energy Department said the sale of 1 million barrels, about 42 million gallons, was timed to provide relief for motorists as the summer driving season begins,” according to The Associated Press. But GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan told The Washington Post that the “sale of the Northeast reserve would have little impact on gasoline prices nationally, although there ‘may be a slight downward pressure on prices’ in the Northeast. The million-barrel reserve only amounts to about 2.7 hours of total U.S. gasoline consumption, he said.” [The Associated Press, 5/21/24; The Washington Post, 5/21/24]
    • Fox contributor Sean Duffy said that instead of releasing the Northeast reserve, Biden should “just support American oil and gas and their drilling.” “Again, he sees the politics of gas prices, but this is pretty simple, senator,” Duffy said in an interview with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). “Just support American oil and gas and their drilling as opposed to Joe Biden and Democrats attacking American oil and gas. You don't have to release a million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, just pump more oil!” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 5/26/24]
    • Citing gas prices, Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz and former Trump adviser Stephen Moore chastised Biden for not getting inflation under control. Moore said Biden should be increasing “the supply of goods and services” so prices go down. “That's especially true in gas, “ he said. “Why aren’t we producing more oil and gas here at home?” Filling in for host Sean Hannity, Chaffetz claimed, “We were energy independent and made a choice not to and now Joe Biden, in order to bring down the price of gas, is tapping into a strategic petroleum reserve. He's doing it for political purposes.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/24/24]


    • Fox host Laura Ingraham claimed Biden’s “anti-oil and gas policies” forced him to release the reserve irresponsibly. “Well, Biden is suddenly scrambling to lower gas prices,” Ingraham said. “Unfortunately, because of his administration’s anti-oil and gas policies and domestic drilling off the table, he has only one way of doing this — yeah, by draining our Strategic Petroleum Reserve again,” calling the move “a tool to boost an intellectually and physically sagging incumbent.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 5/21/24]
    • In an interview with Newsmax host Rob Schmitt, MAGA podcaster Monica Crowley said that the Biden administration “created this crisis” and called the move to release the Northeast Reserve “treasonous behavior.” Crowley claimed the administration is trying to resolve a “political emergency that they themselves created by their war for the last three and a half years on fossil fuels, driving up the cost of energy across the board and helping to drive up inflation.” She continued, “This is actually borderline treasonous behavior, if not straight-up treasonous behavior.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 5/21/24]