President Joe Biden is issuing a strong warning to Americans about what he says might be very significant economic consequences at home, particularly at the gas pump, as worries of a Russian invasion on Ukraine remain a “clear possibility.”
“I’m not going to pretend this is going to be easy,” Biden said Tuesday, warning Americans to expect increased energy prices if Russian President Vladimir Putin attacks Ukraine and the Biden administration responds with “strong” penalties.
According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas hit $3.51 on Wednesday, up over a dollar from a year ago and the highest since October 2014. In the previous month, prices have risen by 25 cents in more than a dozen states.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil producer, and if it invades and the United States imposes sanctions, its oil will be cut off from the global market or become more expensive, according to ABC News Chief Business Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Some analysts predict that gas prices in the United States will rise by as much as 50 cents.
According to polls, Biden is already being blamed for increasing gas prices as part of the greatest inflation in nearly 40 years — more than 7% last year — and it’s a major electoral issue for him and Democrats ahead of the midterm elections in November.
Cecilia Vega, ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent, questioned the White House on what Americans should expect.
On Tuesday, Vega questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki, “Worst case scenario, what should they expect if this happens?”
“If Russia invades, there might be ramifications here at home,” Psaki added, “and that could have an influence on energy prices, which could have an impact on gas prices.”
“He also wanted to be very open and straight with the American people about the impact and the reality that, in his opinion, preserving democracy and liberty never comes without consequences, but we need to express to the American people exactly what that could look like.”
President Biden has been trying to get ahead of a large impact by shoring up supply with allies and energy producers, according to Psaki, who said “all options are on the table” to assist bring down the price of gasoline.
“We’re actively taking steps to relieve pressure on our own energy markets and offset rising prices,” Biden added.
Several Democratic senators have submitted legislation to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax of 18.5 cents per gallon for the rest of the year in order to assist down gas prices. Republican senators dubbed the idea a “gimmick” and blasted the Biden administration’s energy policies, which they believe have penalized American producers and increased foreign dependency on Russian energy, during a news conference on inflation on Wednesday.
“One of the most effective methods to counter Putin’s use of energy as a weapon against our NATO members is to increase our own energy production. Except for a few far-left individuals in the White House who somehow managed to win the discussion over ‘unilaterally disarming American energy,’ everyone believes “Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, stated the following.
The White House has yet to comment on the plan.
Senior administration officials indicated in January that they were working with countries in North Africa, Asia, Europe, and Asia to “maintain supply continuity” and mitigate the price shock that comes with a shortfall.
On Feb. 9, President Biden met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss global energy supply, and on Jan. 31, he hosted Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in the White House.
Despite the outreach and pleas to pump more oil, Saudi Arabia has decided to stick to a five-year-old OPEC+ agreement and will not expand its production capacity to full capacity.