Biden says he ‘can’t do much’ on gas prices

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US President has put the blame for rising energy prices on Moscow

President Joe Biden has claimed that Moscow is entirely to blame for surging US gasoline prices, conceding he won’t be able to blunt runaway inflation at the pump. This comes after the US moved to ban imports of Russian oil and natural gas.

Asked about the outlook for prices at the pump on Tuesday, Biden said, “It’s gonna go up.” “Can’t do much right now. Russia’s responsible,” the president added, when asked about his plan to deal with the spike.

The exchange came after Biden announced a ban on US imports of Russian energy earlier on Tuesday, prompting further gains in oil and gasoline futures prices. Crude rose to a 13-year high on Monday, and US gasoline prices at the pump set an all-time high, averaging $4.17 per gallon.  

The import ban aims to “further inflict pain” on Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching an invasion of Ukraine, Biden said. He acknowledged that the move “is not without cost here at home,” but he promised, “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”

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High gas prices are displayed at a Mobil station across the street from the Beverly Center on March 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. © Mario Tama / Getty Images
US bans Russian energy imports

Biden has faced criticism from Republicans arguing that the rising gas prices is the direct consequence of the president’s climate agenda. Biden has rejected the accusation. “It’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. That’s simply not true,” he said on Tuesday.

Biden issued his executive orders killing the Keystone XL pipeline project and halting new oil and gas leasing during his first week in office, saying, “We’ve already waited too long to deal with the climate crisis.” On Tuesday, he said the Ukraine crisis “should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy.”

Even before Russia’s Ukraine offensive began, gasoline prices had surged about 40% since Biden took office in January 2021. 

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