Biden says he will make sure Americans aren't 'gouged for gas'

President Biden on Wednesday said his administration would make sure that Americans are not being "gouged for gas," noting the recent decline in prices.

Biden credited his administration's decision last month to release 50 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve during a speech in Kansas City where he said the average price of gas had fallen below $3 per gallon.

"Those savings are starting to reach drivers," Biden said in remarks at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. "We're making progress. We're going to keep at it to ensure the American people are paying their fair share for gas, not being gouged for gas." 

High gasoline and natural gas prices have become a nagging political problem for Biden, who has seen his approval ratings decline in the last several months as Americans grow concerned about the rising cost of goods. A Monmouth poll released Wednesday found that roughly three in 10 Americans name everyday bills or inflation as the biggest concern they face.

Republicans have hammered Democrats on the issue and blamed Biden's policies for rising inflation.

The price of crude oil has declined from its October peak of almost $85 to $72 per barrel, representing good news for the White House. As of Wednesday, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. had fallen to $3.35, a smaller decrease. The federal government expects prices to continue to decline over the course of December and January.

Biden was in Kansas City to promote the bipartisan infrastructure law, which he said would help transform the economy by creating jobs, repairing aging roads and bridges, and investing in electric buses and a massive broadband expansion.

The president also referenced rising costs a few times during the speech. He acknowledged that inflation is "real" but insisted his social policy and climate package, which is being debated by the Senate, would not add to the inflationary pressures. Biden also said the bill would reduce costs for an average family of four. 

But Biden's argument about the bill has not convinced Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who this week underscored his ongoing concerns about inflation and warned Democrats against rushing to approve the spending package. 

"We've got to make sure we get this right. We can't afford to continue to flood the market as we've done," Manchin said during a Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on Tuesday.

Manchin's concerns about the bill seem likely to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer's (D-N.Y.) plans to advance it next week.