On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blamed America’s rising gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine while insisting that President Joe Biden’s policies had nothing to do with the problem. Yet, Psaki ignored the fact that gas prices were rising even before Russia went to war with the Eastern European nation — especially in 2021 — precisely because of policies enacted by President Biden which harmed America’s energy independence.
“The reason why the price of gas is going up is not because of steps the president has taken, they are because President Putin is invading Ukraine, and that is creating a great deal of instability in the global marketplace,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing.
PSAKI: "The reason why the price of gas is going up is not because of steps the president has taken.” pic.twitter.com/f2sCbqQgYx
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 4, 2022
On Friday, The Daily Wire reported that over the past 24 hours, national gas prices rose an average of 11 cents. That was the most in one day since Hurricane Katrina impacted oil costs in 2005. The surge in prices from Thursday to Friday makes the national cost of a gallon of gas on average $3.837.
While these immediate price hikes may be caused by disruptions to the global oil supply due to Russia’s war, it is largely because of Biden’s policies that we are so reliant upon foreign oil and Russia in the first place.
As The Daily Wire reported in August of 2021, Biden has taken several steps that have made energy more expensive. The first step was the cutting of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The second was banning most new oil leasing on federal lands:
As one of his first acts as president, Biden revoked a permit from the Keystone XL Pipeline project allowing the planned pipeline to cross over from Canada into the United States. Biden’s action effectively killed the pipeline, costing thousands of jobs. If completed, the pipeline would have shipped over 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Likewise, in January 2021, MarketWatch explained that Biden’s banning of new oil leases on federal lands was due to his focus on stopping global warming — not increasing America’s energy independence. Biden instituted this suspension on his first full day in office:
The Biden administration announced Thursday a 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment.
Under former President Donald Trump, federal agencies prioritized energy development and eased environmental rules to speed up drilling permits as part of the Republican’s goal to end reliance on foreign energy supplies and boost domestic production. Trump consistently downplayed the dangers of climate change, which Biden has made a top priority.
As a result of their actions, the Biden administration had to beg Russia and Saudi Arabia to increase their oil production so that prices would drop due to increased supply, The Daily Wire reported:
President Joe Biden called on a conglomerate of 23 oil-producing countries, led largely by Russia and Saudi Arabia, to increase oil production to combat rising fuel prices.
The White House released a statement by national security advisor Jake Sullivan on Wednesday calling on OPEC to boost oil production.
A wiser move would have been to increase U.S. production of oil, but the White House refused to do that.
In turn, 2021 saw the highest average gas prices since 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
Rising crude oil prices and increased gasoline demand contributed to the average U.S. retail price for regular grade gasoline increasing to $3.01 per gallon (gal) in 2021, the highest average nominal price since 2014. The average price for retail gasoline increased by more than $1.00/gal between the start and the end of 2021.
That alone begs the question how a war that started in February 2022 could retroactively have caused rising gas prices the previous year.
Additionally, while quoted in a recent column for The Hill, Christopher Wood — Global Head of Equity Strategy at Jeffries — also blamed the rising costs of energy on Biden’s policies which purposefully attack fossil fuels:
The rise in prices can be attributed to political pressure from the administration to reel back oil and gas production. Wood claims that the “political attack” on oil and gas “has removed the incentive for investment in the sector despite its lingering importance.”
So while Psaki may want to believe that the cost of gasoline is out of Biden’s control and blame it Putin, this administration has increased America’s reliance on foreign oil, discouraged domestic production, and has attempted to engineer the market place to focus on green energy.
All of these moves have contributed to the pain at the pump Americans see currently. It is not accurate to place the blame entirely at Putin’s feet.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.