by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden is trying to balance championing climate change action and combating gas pump sticker shock as he blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for the latest price hike.
But Republicans are criticizing Biden for not jump-starting domestic oil production as consumers pay an average of more than $4 a gallon amid 40-year-high inflation months before the 2022 midterm elections.
“Crazy,” “insane,” “outrageous,” and “ridiculous” are some of the gas price comments the Republican National Committee has amplified this week.
“Americans are really struggling. They can’t fill their gas tanks. Their home heating bills are up, they are paying $356 a month more because of inflation,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “This energy crisis, the inflation crisis, and [the] national security crisis all tie back to his failure.”
But instead of changing course, Biden advocated this week for green policies favored by Democrats, including activists whose support he requires to drive turnout in November, when he announced his Russian oil ban. The prohibitions apply to new purchases of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal, as well as funneling U.S. funds into Russia’s energy sector. Existing contracts must be wound down in 45 days.
“It should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy,” he said. “Loosening environmental regulations or pulling back clean energy investment will not lower energy prices for families. But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles powered by clean energy with tax credits to help American families winterize their homes and use less energy, that will.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed speculation the public would have to wait until 2030 for gas price relief. That is when Biden wants half of new passenger vehicles to emit zero emissions, with plans for all federal government fleet acquisitions to be held to the same standard by then too.