Trump warns inflation 'snowballing worse than ever': Cost of energy 'biggest problem'

Trump slams Biden's move to release oil held in Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Former President Trump warned that inflation is "snowballing worse than ever," arguing that the cost of energy is the "biggest problem." 

During an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo Trump said that gas was $1.87 a gallon when he was in office, but now the price of gas is "going through the roof," reaching more than $7 in California

The national average for gas as of Monday was $3.31, two cents less than the week before and 10 cents less than the month before, according to AAA.  The national average for the same time last year when Trump was in office was $2.22, according to the association. 

In the interview that aired on "Mornings with Maria" on Monday, the former president warned that even though prices for gas are slightly lower now, they will continue to rise "because it’s going up like a rocket ship."

"If you have a bakery, if you have anything, you have to heat it, you have to have the machinery, it’s all energy," he told Bartiromo, also noting that the business depends on trucks and airplanes for transportation, which use energy as well.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 60.97 +1.00 +1.67%

"The energy costs have gone up so high, it’s staggering, that everything else is affected," Trump continued. 

Consumer prices surged at the fastest pace in nearly four decades in November as Americans paid more for practically everything from groceries to cars to gasoline. 

The consumer price index rose 6.8% in November from a year ago, according to a Labor Department report, marking the fastest increase since June 1982, when inflation hit 7.1%. The CPI – which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents – jumped 0.8% in the one-month period from October.

Price increases were widespread with energy prices jumping 3.5% in November, up 33.3% year over year. Gasoline is a stunning 58.1% higher than it was a year ago. 

When Bartiromo asked Trump what he believes could solve the problem of higher energy costs he responded by saying "the first thing you have you to do is produce energy and not rely on OPEC."

Trump then slammed the Biden administration for calling on OPEC to increase supply. 

In September White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration would "continue to speak to international partners, including OPEC, on the importance of competitive markets and setting prices and doing more to support the recovery." National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, in August, said OPEC+’s rate of oil production increases was "simply not enough."

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The move has angered the domestic oil industry, which helped the U.S. achieve energy independence under President Trump that has slipped under Biden, who has rolled out tougher policies for energy companies and has shut down major pipelines

Trump also blasted President Biden's move to release 50 million barrels of oil held in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as Americans have been paying more for gas now than they have in years.

"This is a big deal," Trump told Bartiromo, noting that the reserves are "meant for war" and not "meant to get the prices down a little bit."

The former president said that for decades the reserves "weren’t full and then they really hit an all-time low."  

Trump went on to say that when prices for oil were low "I said, ‘Let’s fill up the strategic reserves’ and we did 75 million barrels. That’s a lot for almost nothing." 

"We bought it for a steal when we had the low," he stressed.

Trump then slammed Biden saying, "This guy comes along, and he says, ‘Oh good, now it’s filled up, we’ll just do it in order to get prices down,’ which is just artificial, and they can’t do it that long because it’s not going to last that long." 

Trump also stressed that the U.S. was energy independent when he was in office. 

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Oil prices fell on Monday as investors worried that a rise in omicron cases could impact economic growth and curb demand. 

Brent Crude futures, the international benchmark, declined 4.4% to $70.87 a barrel as of Monday morning and U.S. crude prices dropped 5% to $67.73 a barrel. 

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Fox News’ Brooke Singman as well as FOX Business’ Megan Henney and Suzanne O’Halloran contributed to this report.