A vacuous link between soaring gas prices and the surging demand for electric vehicles is being targeted as a conspiracy to make American consumers switch to electric vehicles. Social media posts are now suggesting that President Joe Biden is purposefully keeping prices at the pump incredibly high to force a surge in EV sales.
“$6.00 a gallon gas is how you get people to buy electric cars,” a meme shared thousands of times across several social media platforms said. While high gas prices are increasing electric vehicle sales and orders, there is no evidence to suggest President Biden would be doing this on purpose. In fact, consumers are perfectly capable of making their own decisions, and a dependence on foreign oil will drive prices up. This will only push gas car drivers to consider more affordable options that will keep them from spending over $100 in some cases to fill up their vehicles.
Of course, when anything happens in the world, there is always someone who will dig a little deeper and consider circumstantial or situational evidence as an explanation. “At this point, conspiracy theories have become so ingrained in people’s psyche and because of social media, they spread like wildfire,” Georgia State University Professor Mia Bloom said in an interview with the Associated Press. If it’s not this conspiracy theory this week, it’ll be another one next week.”
Gas prices have increased significantly over the past month, especially due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Sanctions on the Russian energy sector only needed to be a potential occurrence to increase gas prices. Companies like BP and ExxonMobil cut ties with the Russian sector, which increased demand and decreased supply. “As global and U.S. crude prices increase, U.S. gas prices will also be driven higher,” Jesse Wheeler, a Morning Consult economic analyst told NBC News.
AAA data suggests the U.S. national average sits at $4.326 per gallon, nearly 85 cents higher than the average just 30 days ago.
Despite the simple logic of supply and demand and the moves of many companies to completely cut ties with Russia, conspiracy theorists are still convinced the adoption of electric cars is a way for the government to gain more control over its citizens. “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but high gas prices will push more people to electric cars that can be frozen just like your bank account,” another post said.
This post can be disproven by looking at Department of Energy statistics, which state that 80 percent of electric vehicle charging is done at a driver’s home. While public charging stations are readily available across the country, there is no indication that EVs would be the more appropriate way to control citizens. Gas prices will continue to skyrocket, which would be an easier way to keep people home and off the roads.
Consumer sentiment simply shows that people will do whatever they can to save money. If gas is nearing $6 per gallon in some regions, it would be a no-brainer to switch to an electric car. A Cars.com study showed that traveling expenses were significantly less for an EV than for a gas-powered car. The study showed a 2021 Tesla Model Y traveled about 1,300 miles and was charged at home for $79.21.
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