Biden even predicted it would get worse with prices at the pump – which hit a record $4.173 – going higher.
‘They’re going to go up,’ Biden said when asked his message for Americans on gas prices.
And asked what could be done about it, Biden responded: ‘Can’t do much right now. Russia is responsible.’
His comments came after he banned Russian oil imports into the United States – a move he acknowledged earlier Tuesday could raise gas prices even further.
Regular gasoline hit $4.173 per gallon on average on Tuesday, up 11 cents in just one day and 72 cents higher from a month ago, shattering the prior national record of $4.11 set in 2008, according to the AAA Gas Price Index.
The price of regular broke $4 a gallon on Sunday for the first time in nearly 14 years.
The White House has blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the record prices even though gas prices were moving upward before Putin made his move.
‘This is a Putin spike at the gas pump, not one prompted by our sanctions,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One on the way to Texas, where Biden would speak on veteran’s health.
The White House has repeatedly pushed back on questions on whether the administration could do more to give Americans financial relief.
‘Federal policies are not in limiting the supplies of oil and gas,’ Psaki said in her press briefing on Monday. And she defended White House action, arguing the administration has released oil from the strategic reserve, that there are 9,000 approved drilling permits not being used, and that they are in talks with oil companies.
Before he headed to Texas, Biden announced a ban on energy imports from Moscow, which he acknowledged would rattle world markets and likely drive up gas prices even higher.
A majority of Americans support his move. In a Wall Street Journal poll, 79% said they favored a ban on Russian oil imports even if it increased energy prices in the U.S.. Just 13% said they opposed it.
The support was bipartisan: The ban received 77% approval from Republicans and 72% of voters who said they would support former President Trump if he ran again in 2024. Among Democrats, 88% said they favored the moratorium on Russian oil imports.
Biden said the ban was necessary as it would target ‘the main artery of Russia’s economy.’ The United States and its allies are trying to hurt Putin financially in order to get him to back down from his invasion.
‘Americans have rallied support – have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,’ Biden said at the White House.
During his speech Biden also hit back at Republican accusations that his administration cut back US oil and gas production — pointing out that he actually pumped more oil than his predecessor Donald Trump did during his first year in office.
Biden insisted American fuel independence could be achieved by transitioning to clean energy which Republicans have claimed that such efforts led the US to today’s vulnerable position and high gas prices.
After Biden’s speech, Republicans renewed calls to increase US fossil fuel production while also condemning the president for looking at Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran as possible candidates to alleviate the immediate strain.
‘Every purchase of Russian energy product provides financial support for Putin’s barbaric war on Ukraine. Banning Russian oil and gas imports is obviously the right thing to do, and Biden must couple this glaringly clear decision with expanded U.S. oil and gas production. The President should have the courage to stand against the Democrats’ green new deal left and step away from his administration’s war on the American oil and gas industry,’ Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana told DailyMail.com.
Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern accused Biden of ‘intentionally’ driving up gas prices to grow support for his electric vehicle initiatives in a statement to DailyMail.com.
‘Biden and his handlers have spent the last year driving up inflation by any means possible with the intention of forcing a ‘reset’ in our country, a transition to the Green New Deal and other socialist policies. It’s all been intentional. Biden’s EV push does nothing to help Americans hurting today, who can’t afford a luxury vehicle. It doesn’t help power our homes and businesses, and it will not cause the price of gas to go down one penny. American energy dominance is the answer, and that starts with oil and gas,’ Hern said.
Kansas Senator Roger Marshall said in a statement, ‘I applaud President Biden for taking this important step, but similar to sanctions on Russia and aid delivered to Ukraine, he is once again late to act. After spending billions to finance Putin’s war on Ukraine, the President must immediately redirect efforts to restart America’s energy production,’
His fellow Kansas Senator Jerry Moran said the ban was the ‘right step.’
‘While it’s past time for President Biden’s ban on the U.S. purchase of Russian oil, this is the right step. Now his admin must take steps to unleash U.S. energy production. If not, gas prices will continue to rise & we will be reliant on our adversaries for energy production,’ Moran said on Twitter.
Former President Donald Trump released a statement reasserting that the US was enacting the full Russian energy ban alone and claiming Europe was ‘taking advantage’ of Biden.
‘Just confirmed that most of Europe won’t go along with the United States in boycotting Russian oil and gas. As usual the United States will be left out there alone, being taken advantage of by Europe, as we defend them, while we read in the Fake News how everyone has come together under Biden to fight Russia,’ Trump said through his Save America PAC.
GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana wrote on Twitter, ‘Even with $5/gallon gas, Joe Biden is doubling down on Green New Deal policies.’
Florida Senator Marco Rubio praised Biden’s import ban but urged him to go further in a video statement.
‘Part one is in place, we’re not buying oil from Russia. Now we have to do part two, which is we should replace it with American oil — not Saudi oil, not Iranian oil, not Venezuelan oil,’ Rubio said.
Rick Scott, chair of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm the National Republican Senatorial Committee, accused Biden of dodging blame for high gas prices.
‘Americans are paying record gas prices & Biden blames everyone else. Here’s the real cause,’ Scott wrote on Twitter. ‘Biden’s war on U.S. energy: canceling Keystone XL while approving Russia’s pipelines. Biden’s Afghanistan debacle & weakness on the world stage. Who is responsible? Joe Biden.’
New York Republican Rep. Tom Reed said Biden’s announcement sent an ‘important’ message but ‘again highlights the necessity of tapping into America’s own precious natural resources for our national security and to help ease the pain of inflation for the American people.’
Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart questioned why Biden was looking at places like Venezuela and Iran to fill the need.
He added, ‘U.S. shale producers can increase production twice as fast as Venezuelan oil companies, and the profits would go to American workers rather than another dictatorship.’
Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee said Biden should have pushed US drilling in his speech.