By Jack Phillips
President Joe Biden on Thursday said that American motorists should expect to pay elevated prices for gasoline until the Russia–Ukraine war is over.
In a press conference following the NATO summit in Madrid, Biden was questioned about how long people should pay higher gas prices.
“How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay a premium for this war?” a New York Times reporter asked Biden.
“As long as it takes,” Biden said in response, “so that Russia cannot in fact defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine.”
“This is a critical, critical position for the world,” he added, again blaming the elevated gas prices on the Russia–Ukraine conflict.
Biden and his fellow Democrats have claimed Russia is to blame for the high prices, although they have rarely mentioned U.S. sanctions targeting Moscow or his well-documented policy efforts to restrict oil and gas production inside the United States. Gas prices started rising soon after Biden took office in January 2021, and they continued on that path well before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022.
“The reason why gas prices are up is because of Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia,” Biden also stated. “The reason the food crisis exists is because of Russia.”
Also during the news conference, the president said he will not ask Saudi Arabia to raise its oil production when he visits the kingdom in July. Reports earlier this year indicated that he would ask Saudi Arabia and other top oil-producing nations to increase their supply to deal with supply issues.
Data provided by auto club AAA shows that the average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline stands at around $4.87 as of Thursday morning. That’s about a 9-cent decline from last Thursday, although it represents a 25-cent increase from one month ago.
The national average on June 30, 2021, according to AAA, was $3.12 per gallon.
Earlier this month, Biden blamed U.S. oil companies, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, for the price spike and threatened to take executive action against the industry in a letter that was sent to the CEOs of major petroleum firms. The missive triggered pushback from both Exxon and Chevron, who accused the Biden administration of taking a hospital position against the fossil fuel industry by limiting drilling.
“In the short term, the U.S. government could enact measures often used in emergencies following hurricanes or other supply disruptions—such as waivers of Jones Act provisions and some fuel specifications to increase supplies,” ExxonMobil said in a news release earlier this month.
At the same time, Biden administration officials have said that Americans should purchase electric vehicles to deal with the elevated gas prices. According to Kelly Blue Book’s April 2022 figures, the average price for a new electric vehicle is over $65,000—meaning they’re cost-prohibitive for most Americans and especially those who cannot afford a new car.
Republicans have said that Biden’s green energy agenda and policies targeting the American oil and gas sectors are the reason why gas prices have reached record levels. After taking office last year, Biden signed a series of executive orders limiting new drilling leases on federal lands, ending federal subsidies for fossil fuels, and killing the Keystone XL pipeline.