AP FACT CHECK: Biden overpromises on green energy savings

Published 6:10 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden vastly overpromised Thursday when he told Americans they can expect savings of $500 a month by transitioning to renewable energy. It’s possible they might save that much over a year, not per month.

Biden addressed the subject while announcing plans to order the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strategic petroleum reserve for the next six months.

Biden is grappling with fallout from surging energy prices, including gasoline that has reached an average of $4.23 per gallon, after the United States banned imports of Russian oil and gas.

Email newsletter signup

It’s unclear how much gasoline prices might dip from Biden’s new order, but the president did promise immediate savings from adopting renewable energy:

BIDEN: “If your home is powered by safer, cheaper, cleaner electricity like solar or heat pumps, you can save about $500 a month on average.”

THE FACTS: Not so. The average person in the U.S. spends far less than that every month on electricity.

The average electric bill for homeowners was $115 per month in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Between 2009 and 2019, the average monthly electric bill for a U.S. homeowner never surpassed $120.

In a statement released to support his order Thursday, the White House predicted his energy plan would save people “$500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.”

Earlier this year Biden himself promised to save “families an average of $500 a year by combatting climate change.” But in a fumble, he cast the savings this time as monthly. The White House corrected Biden’s remark in a transcript, making clear he meant to say the savings he predicted would be over a year.

Even yearly savings, though, would take years for homeowners to realize, given the upfront cost of installing solar panels and heat pumps in homes.