No set of Biden administration policies has had a greater impact on food prices than its energy policies. Oil and gas are critical to food production. The tractors, harvesters, loaders, trucks, trains, and irrigation systems on farms don’t run on unicorn farts or green energy fantasies, they run on diesel, gasoline, and natural gas. And the fertilizers and pesticides that make U.S. crop production and yields the envy of the world are made out of and using oil and gas as well.
As detailed in a recent report from The Heartland Institute, the most important factor driving higher oil and gas prices has been the series of anti-fossil-fuel measures implemented by the Biden administration. Oil prices rose 60 percent, natural gas prices surged by 61 percent, and the price of gasoline rose 98 cents per gallon, about 42 percent. Indeed, agriculture is a very energy-intensive industry.
Not only has the cost of fuel used to plant, harvest, and ship crops increased, so has the cost of fertilizer. Oil and natural gas, a component of fertilizers, have multiple uses. Also, there is limited refining and chemical capacity. Moreover, oil and gas used and refined for transportation fuels, for instance, can’t be turned into fertilizer. During times of abundant and growing supply, that is not a problem, but, of course, that’s not the situation we confront now. As a result, fertilizer prices have risen even faster than oil and gas prices in general, being as much as 98 percent higher in January 2022 than they were in January 2021.