On Tuesday, March 8, President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports in response to Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, a move that threatens to send world prices soaring to record levels.  

The president also acknowledged that the ban would directly impact gasoline prices in the U.S. “Defending freedom is going to cost,” Biden said. 

“Today, I’m announcing the United States is targeting a main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas,” Biden said.

According to Associated Press, “Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” Biden said, adding, “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”

“We’re approaching record levels of oil and gas production in the United States and we’re on track to set a record for production next year … The oil and gas industry has millions of acres leased. They have 9,000 permits to drill now. They could be drilling right now, yesterday, last week, last year,” Biden said according to the NY Post.

With inflation at the highest point in 40 years due mostly to the rising cost of gasoline, Biden sees the issue as a threat to his image ahead of the election. So he defended his energy policies, “It’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. That’s simply not true.”

But some Republicans quickly refuted Biden’s remarks and took to social media to do so.

“@POTUS, this you?” wrote Rep. French Hill (R-Ark), linking in the tweet to Biden’s executive order last year to restrict new oil exploration.

While Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted “Joe Biden is lying,” and urged him to take a series of actions “to increase domestic energy production.”

The president further warned oil and gas companies not to raise prices unnecessarily, stating that while the Russia-Ukraine war is driving up gas prices, it is “no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit the situation” or American consumers.

Biden said the U.S. was acting in close consultation with European allies, although they cannot join the sanctions at this time as they are more dependent on Russian energy supplies. 

Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter, while the U.S. is the largest consumer, but is also a producer of oil and gas, relying on just under 10% of Russian supplies. 

On the other hand, Europe is much more dependent on Moscow for its energy supplies, importing 40% of its gas and a quarter of its total oil consumption from Russia. 

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