On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would officially ban the import of Russian oil as retaliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion into Ukraine. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy,” Biden said. While Biden said that this is a “powerful blow” to the Russian military as it will effect funding for the invasion, he also reminded Americans that the ban will increase an ever-worsening pain at the gas pump. Gas prices on average rose about sixty cents per gallon from last week to this morning.
In fact, as Biden made the announcement, the price of a barrel of oil jumped to $129.91, a 5.4 percent increase.
The United States isn’t the only Western ally to announce it would turn away Russian oil. Great Britain announced they would phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year just a short time before Biden spoke at The White House.
Biden said that while gas prices will rise as a result of the ban, his administration will do everything it can to “minimize the impact on the American people.” Biden warned American oil companies against price gouging during this time.
However, the American people as a whole are demanding the production of more oil here at home. Americans are weary from surging inflation as well as higher fuel prices that have risen over one dollar per gallon in the last 14 months since Biden took office.
Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill called the Energy Freedom Act, which would work to restore America to its energy independence that was attained in 2019.
Senator Cruz said regarding the bill: “(The bill would) reverse Biden’s actions so we can restore American energy independence;” the bill “won’t cost taxpayers a dime” while creating “billions in revenue in the coming years” for the U.S. “by expediting permitting, leasing, safe new pipelines, and exports, and providing much needed regulatory certainty.”
While the ban of Russian oil importation appeared to have bipartisan support, Cruz’ bill will face great resistance from progressives. It is unknown whether even more moderate Democrats would support the bill.
Another piece of evidence that Cruz’ energy proposal will have a tough road ahead would manifest in comments made on Monday by Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. With Vice President Kamala Harris by his side, the Transportation Secretary spoke about the benefit of electric vehicles for the American people.
Buttigieg was speaking on a Biden Administration initiative that would “develop public electric buses.” Buttigieg specificially said these buses would benefit all Americans: “(from) rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.” However, Buttigieg failed to say exactly how electric cars – or public transportation utilizing electric buses – would significantly improve the lives of Americans. Buttigieg did mention gas savings, but, once again, issues with charging these electric public transportation vehicles and the pull on current electricity infrastructure was not acknowledged.
Last week, electric car mogul Elon Musk tweeted that the production of oil and gas needed to be ramped up in America. He further acknowledged that the current infrastructure is not set up for getting every American in an all-electric fleet of vehicles. Musk noted in a different tweet that getting Americans over to EVs could cause a surge in electrical usage by two times the current amount.
At present, the people of the United States support the ban on Russian oil, but they also – on average – believe that we should utilize the resources we have here in America to offset the cost. President Biden is headed to Iran later to meet with leaders there to discuss ramping up their production of oil. At the same time, when Pete Buttigieg mentions all Americans utilizing EVs, he fails to mention that most Americans don’t want to – or can’t – invest in these generally more expensive vehicles. Americans simply want gas savings, to no longer see empty store shelves, and to be able to afford to heat and cool their homes.
Will the Biden Administration listen to the pleas of the people or the progressives in his party? The answer remains to be seen.