President Biden on Thursday faulted Russian President Vladimir Putin for soaring U.S. gas prices, pushing back on Republican claims that his energy policies have hurt the industry and the broader economy.
“Our prices are rising because of Putin‘s action. There isn’t enough supply. And the bottom line is if we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now,” he added.
Mr. Biden has been blaming Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for rising gas prices since the Russian assault began last month. Calling it the “Putin price hike,” Mr. Biden said it’s having an impact on Americans’ wallets.
No family’s budget “should hinge on whether a dictator declares war,” he continued.
Mr. Biden’s remarks came hours after the White House announced he will release a record 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to contain rapidly rising energy prices.
When asked when Americans could see relief at the pump from this move, Mr. Biden said there was “no firm answer,” adding that prices have dropped since the announcement.
Despite pointing the finger at Mr. Putin, gas prices had been steadily rising ahead of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. In fact, last November - well ahead of Mr. Putin‘s attack on Ukraine - Mr. Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate higher gas prices.
On average, U.S. drivers are paying roughly $4.23 for a gallon of regular gasoline, according to AAA. While that’s below a record high of
$4.33 a gallon earlier this month, it is still ahead of the previous record, which was set nearly 14 years ago.
The previous average high for a gallon of gas was $4.11 in July 2008, according to AAA.
On Wednesday, crude oil traded at about $105 a barrel, up from about $60 a year ago. Oil prices closed above $100 a barrel in February for the first time since 2014 and have remained in that neighborhood for several weeks.