Recently a wave of young voters have been taking to Tik Tok, Twitter, and Instagram to call out Republicans over the hypocrisy of their rhetoric on inflation, especially when it comes to exorbitant gas prices.
As gas prices rose beyond affordability for most families this spring and summer, Democrats sought to pass the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. When the House took a vote in May, it went through in a 217-207 vote. Not one Republican voted in favor of the act. Currently, it is stalled in a deadlocked Senate without any Republican support.
And yet, according to The Nation, Ron Johnson, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, chose to blame gas prices on Democrats and their proposed environmental policies. Unsurprisingly, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has characterized President Biden of “waging a holy war against American fossil fuels.”
Here is something Republicans are not telling their supporters — the GOP is one of the reasons that price gouging at the gas pump is being allowed to happen in the first place. Big Oil puts money in GOP pockets, and they’re going to do everything in their power to keep it that way. That means they will absolutely screw over consumers to make sure their pockets stay full.
Oil companies have been reporting record profit highs since 2021. When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, these companies took advantage to raise their prices even higher. While families are struggling to put gas in their car, they have been raking in billions of dollars in profits. The Center for American Progress reports that the top five oil companies: Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil, have brought in more than $35 billion in profits in the first three months of 2022.
And where is that money going if it’s not going towards lower gas prices? Obviously into the bank accounts of the CEOs and shareholders — people who really have no business making any more money than they already are. According to the CAP: “Last year, 28 of the top oil and gas CEOs raked in $394 million in compensation—a nearly $45 million increase since 2020.”
It’s no wonder that young voters are fighting back. With the creation of the hashtag #RepublicansHateCheapGas, they’re showing that they aren’t going to ignore that the GOP is responsible for this ongoing crisis. It’s easy to want to blame the Biden administration. But it’s critical to remember that the Republicans are the ones who are actively holding any sort of solution hostage.
The hashtag has been making the rounds on social media, with people reminding their fellow Americans that the GOP must be held accountable for their actions.
Climate Power tweeted: “#RepublicansHateCheapGas because they’re getting a cut of the profit. $35 billion in Big Oil profits from price gouging + $17.1 million in campaign contributions from Big Oil = 0 GOP votes to stop price gouging.”
Musician Ryze Hendricks shared a music clip on TikTok where he shared his thoughts on the subject: “Gas prices record breaking, we facing inflation. Our wages: stagnant — but prices continue to skyrocket,” he rapped.
And these TikTokers used the “big hug” trending sound to creatively call out corporations for their role in inflation.
Posts like these made the hashtag trend in the top ten on Twitter the day it was released, and in just a few days there were more than 700,000 views on Instagram and Tik Tok videos talking about this topic. It’s clear this is an issue young voters aren’t going to let go and candidates should take note for the Midterms.
Young people can’t get jobs that adequately support themselves. Rents are through the roof. Groceries are too expensive – the average grocery shopping trip for my family of three is over $100 a week. And clearly, gas prices are too high as well.
Where I live in Los Angeles, gas has consistently been close to $6 a gallon. Thankfully, my family doesn’t do a lot of driving if we can avoid it. We work from home and my son goes to school within walking distance. However, as people are now being forced back to work in person, they’re spending a lot more time in the car, and a good portion of their paycheck is going to covering transportation costs.
Here’s the thing: wages are stagnant, which means people can never get ahead. That’s why they’re choosing to mobilize behind this action and will continue to make their voices heard until things change.
The oil CEOs and the Republicans who support them are never going to do the right thing, when they’re reaping all the financial benefits. Meanwhile, regular American families are the ones who suffer. We cannot continue like this, and we must force politicians to act now before it gets worse.
“Oil companies are not struggling—they continue to announce record profits and tens of billions dollars’ worth of stock buybacks—but families are,” Democratic Rep. Katie Porter said. “Big Oil is price gouging families because they can. Enough is enough.”