Buttigieg: Short-term solutions to gas prices will be hard to come by

Oct 7, 2022, 9:28 AM
Buttigieg WA...
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Kim Schrier in Wenatchee this week. (Secretary Pete Buttigieg/Twitter)
(Secretary Pete Buttigieg/Twitter)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said there’s no short-term solution to gas prices because much of the problem is out of our control.

Buttigieg spoke with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien on Seattle’s Morning News on Friday. He’s in Washington state this week to highlight infrastructure investments from the Biden administration.

When asked about the Biden administration’s plans for helping the average Washingtonian pay at the pump, Buttigieg said that the administration is doing everything it can, but further highlights the need to reduce dependence on oil.

“The immediate reductions in gas prices that we saw over the summer, I think, are partly the result of the President’s action with things like the oil reserves,” Buttigieg said. “So as we look at long-term energy policy, we’re also working on short-term relief… there’s not some dial in the Oval Office that you turn that [changes] gas prices…reminding us of why we need to boost domestic clean energy production.”

Gas prices rose 38 cents per gallon last week alone. Washington saw the fourth-largest spike in gas prices last week, hitting $5.29 a gallon.

Inflation is already at a record high making the cost of everyday goods an increased burden, and now OPEC has announced they will cut oil production, pushing prices even higher.

Buttigieg touched on how federal funding was being used in Sound Transit infrastructure projects, with a large amount of federal funding — $516.6 million — going to projects like a link light rail expansion in Federal Way and Lynnwood, rapid bus route expansions, and other infrastructure projects.

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg coming to Seattle this week

“We’re gonna keep working with Sound Transit to make sure that they can meet their goals and meet federal requirements,” Buttigieg said. “I can’t speak for them, but we are making sure that when it comes to federal support, we’re here for them and for every transit agency in the country. We’re doing more right now in terms of transit investments than ever before in the history of the country.”

When specifically asked about the policy of limiting fare enforcement on Sound Transit, Buttigieg said that fares wouldn’t solve budgeting issues in transportation departments.

“For most systems, the fare box is not the majority of the funding, although I’m not sure how the numbers add up for Sound Transit. A lot of different transit agencies are evaluating how to have the most efficient fare system, [and] some are even going with zero fare experiments.”


Buttigieg and many other politicians have been traveling across the country recently, with the November midterm elections just around the corner, marking the halfway point in President Biden’s term. Many wonder if these trips were building up to the announcement of a 2024 presidential run for the young cabinet member.

And to that, the answer was a well-rehearsed no.

“I’m focused on my day job right now. It’s more than enough to keep me busy. We’re doing planes, trains, and automobiles. We’re doing transit. We’re doing ports, ferries, we’ve been doing culverts here in the Pacific Northwest – make sure that salmon fresh fisheries are in good shape,” Buttigieg concluded.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Buttigieg: Short-term solutions to gas prices will be hard to come by