Sen. John Barrasso. (Screenshot from Barrasso's Youtube channel)

CASPER, Wyo. — The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States stands at $3.043 on Thursday, according to AAA. That’s up from $2.872 a month ago and up from $1.908 a year ago.

In Wyoming, the current average is $3.034 per gallon. It was $2.924 a month ago and $1.866 a year ago. In Casper, the current average is $2.907, according to AAA. It was $2.880 a month ago and $1.598 a year ago.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the change over time consumers pay for a basket of goods and services, increased 4.2% overall in April 2021 compared with April 2020.

“The 4.2 percent increase in April is the largest increase over a 12-month period since a 4.9-percent increase for the year ending September 2008,” the agency says. “Over the longer period from January 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) to April 2021, consumer prices increased 3.5 percent.”

Energy commodity prices saw the largest spike among all the commodities the CPI looks at. Energy prices overall rose 25.1% compared with April 2020 and are up 7.5% compared with Jan. 2020.

Food prices in April 2021 were up 2.4% compared with April 2020. They were up 4.6% compared with Jan. 2020. Fruit and vegetable prices have seen the biggest increases, up 3.3% since April 2020.

Other commodity prices are also up. Used car and truck prices were up 21% in April 2021 compared with April 2020. Airline fares were up 9.6% compared with April 2020, but still 12.6% lower than in Jan. 2020.

Wyoming’s U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is blaming the administration of President Joe Biden for some of the increases.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the price of gas has gone up,” Barrasso said. “Joe Biden’s first action in office was to draw a target on the back of American energy and pull the trigger.”

“He shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, he banned new oil and gas leases on federal land, he’s restricted the production of American energy. We need energy. We need it now. Gas prices affect the price of everything else. It costs more and more to transport things across the country. And that’s why we’re seeing prices go up at the grocery store.”

Barrasso also argued that the American Rescue Plan package Biden signed in March is “a $2 trillion slush fund for basically liberal spending. It was described as a coronavirus relief package, but in fact when you take a look at it less than 9% of the money, a small percentage of the money went to medical care.”

“He crammed it through Congress, party line vote, absolutely no Republican support, put the bill on the nation’s credit card and the Federal Reserve started to print more money,” Barrasso said. “Now, money doesn’t grow on trees, it doesn’t come from a printer, you cannot print your way to prosperity. The money has to come from somewhere.”

Biden has been seeking support for a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan but Republicans in the Senate have so far been unwilling to move toward compromise, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Barrasso said in his speech Wednesday that if Biden’s vision is enacted, he expects inflation to rise.

“Under President Biden, we’re seeing more government, more taxes more spending and as a result the American people are suffering, they are seeing higher prices and disappointing job creation,” Barrasso said. “We see gas lines, we see people hoarding gasoline like it was in the 1970’s and President Biden should remember those times because he was still a member of the Senate back then.”

Barrasso said he thinks Biden policies are squeezing the middle class: “Working families are getting squeezed. And this is a direct result of the policies of the Biden administration.”

The full speech can be heard below:

YouTube video