President Joe Biden on Wednesday reiterated his stance that the nation’s escalated cost of gasoline was a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine. He also called on building the nation’s clean energy to avoid such future price hikes, including making electric vehicles more affordable.
Biden has referred to the recent high cost of gas as “Putin’s price hike,” and he again blamed the Russian leader for the pain Americans are experiencing at the pump during a speech that called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months.
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline hit $5 for the first time on June 11. Though gas prices have dipped slightly in recent days, the average was still at $4.955 on Wednesday, according to the American Automobile Association. Along with calling for a break from the federal gas tax, Biden requested that states remove separate gas taxes during his speech. He also announced he had sent a letter to the CEOs of oil companies asking them to increase their capacity.
The president said gas prices have risen by almost $2 a gallon in the U.S. since the war in Ukraine started in late February, and he said Putin’s “ruthless attack on Ukraine” has shown the “need to grow and harness more energy here at home.”
“Let’s lower the price of electric vehicles so we never have to pay at the pump in the first place,” Biden said, adding that the country should develop other clean energies so that “we’re never again forced to pay the price of a menacing dictator halfway around the world.”
During his prepared statement, Biden criticized oil companies for what he said was insufficient action on their part. He said the price of oil had fallen by more than $10 a barrel in the last two weeks, which he said should have resulted in a decrease of 25 cents a gallon in gas. Instead, he said prices only fell a few cents and some companies made no reductions to the cost of gas.
“My message is simple to the companies running gas stations and setting those prices at the pump: This is a time of war. Global peril. Ukraine. These are not normal times,” Biden said. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you are paying for the product. Do it now. Do it today.”
Biden also took aim at the GOP members of Congress who have attacked him for the country’s high inflation and gas prices.
“So for all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine? Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin? Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s Iron Fist in Europe?” Biden said.
Biden further touted the future of electric vehicles, saying major automobile manufacturers are preparing for 50 percent of future sales to come from electric vehicles by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035.
“We’re already building secure supply chains to build these electric vehicles here in American,” the president said.