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Outdated global gas prices used to criticize Biden’s pipeline action

December 2, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Gasoline prices are $2.10 in Russia, 78 cents in Kuwait and 98 cents in Saudi Arabia. Nobody is shutting down pipelines in those countries.

AP ASSESSMENT: False. The gas prices listed for the three oil producing countries mentioned are incorrect, they are lower than those currently being reported. And, according to experts, rising gas prices in the United States are due primarily to supply and demand issues, not to President Joe Biden’s revocation of a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project, as the post suggests.

THE FACTS: A post widely shared on Facebook suggests gas prices in the U.S. are higher than other countries because fuel pipelines have been shut down.

The post, which misspelled Saudi Arabia and includes a derogatory reference to Biden, reads: “Gasoline in Russia $2.10, Kuwait 78 cents, Saudia Arabia 98 cents. Nobody shutting pipe lines down there. FJB”

But the information is outdated, showing gas prices that are below those currently found in those countries. The old information on prices is listed in a 2005 update of global gas prices in a CNN Money article.

According to GlobalPetrolPrices.com, as of Nov. 29 gas prices per gallon in U.S. dollars in the three countries mentioned are: Kuwait: $1.314, Saudi Arabia: $2.35, and Russia: $2.578.

The price tracking site notes that retail prices for gasoline in some countries listed are kept lower because of taxes and government subsidies. Gas is subsidized by the government in the three countries mentioned.

Prices at the pump have gone up significantly this year in the U.S. According to the data from the federal Energy Information Administration, the national average in the U.S. from the last week of November was $3.380 per gallon, compared to $2.120 a year ago.

Mark Finley, a fellow in energy and global oil at Rice University, said crude oil prices are key to determining trends in gas prices.

“The reason why crude oil prices around the world are going up is because global demand is recovering as we come out of the COVID pandemic,” Finley said.

But the claim points to pipeline issues and points criticism at President Joe Biden, stating “FJB,” understood on social media as standing for f--- Joe Biden.

Shortly after taking office in January, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline’s border crossing permit over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude could make climate change worse and harder to reverse.

But experts say Biden’s decision to revoke the permit for expansion of the pipeline project would not affect gas prices because it would not be operational in the near future. An AP Fact Check examined the move.

“You could build 10 Keystone pipelines, and they wouldn’t do a thing for the price of gasoline or crude oil,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com. De Haan told AP that the problem is not the pipeline capacity but a problem of supply and demand for oil.

Operational pipelines have affected gas prices in the past, according to Finley. For example, gas prices soared in some parts of the U.S. last summer after the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard, was forced to shut down because of a ransomware attack.

In November, Biden ordered a record 50 million barrels of oil released from America’s strategic reserve, aiming to bring down gasoline and other costs, in coordination with other major energy consuming nations including India, the United Kingdom and China.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.