President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans of financial stability in the energy market Tuesday by doubling down on his “green” agenda.
That agenda, which has driven gas prices to seven-year highs, Biden said in his first State of the Union address, features heavy government expenditures on unreliable energy while pushing Americans to buy electric cars.
Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit; double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more; lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again.
Such changes, Biden promised, would “cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combatting climate change,” while Americans cope with gas prices that remain a dollar higher on average than they were at nearly any point in the Trump administration, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
After antagonizing Americans with high energy prices throughout his tenure with an immediate spike upon Biden’s inaugural moves to suppress domestic oil and gas production, the president pledged in the prime-time address to keep pressure on the industry even as global events demand reclamation of energy independence. The United States is forecast by the EIA to revert to a net-importer of oil despite decades of reserves locked under Biden’s environmental regime even as the administration continues to welcome overseas commodities.
According to the latest data from the EIA, the United States imported more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia, helping the Kremlin finance President Vladimir Putin’s war machine. Revenues from oil and gas, which make up a vast majority of Russian exports, generated $119 billion for Moscow last year, according to numbers reported by Reuters citing its Finance Ministry.
A portion came at the courtesy of the American taxpayer, as the United States doubled is imports of Russian crude while President Biden shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project abandoned by summer. The pipeline transporting crude from the Canadian Tar Sands to gulf refineries carried 830,000 barrels at peak capacity.
American dependence on foreign oil coupled with Europe’s even greater reliance directly on Russian energy supplies has hindered western diplomacy with a nation engaged in an unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The only North Atlantic Treaty Organization nation to ban imports of Russian crude since the offensive against Ukraine is Canada, a major producer in its own right that hasn’t imported oil from Russia since 2019.
While sanctions on the Russian energy sector have not been taken off the table, the White House has remained reluctant to target Russia’s oil and gas to avoid even higher prices for consumers.
“We’ll continue to scope out measures to allow for steady energy supplies to global markets,” said a senior administration official on Monday, with the White House ensuring energy transactions remain exempt from sanctions.
The threat of such price spikes however, could have been avoided had the United States maintained its energy independence that the administration forfeited within a year, and the Kremlin’s revenues would have been far lower had oil prices remained lower.
Instead of unleashing American energy production to counteract Russian aggression as a near-term solution, Biden celebrated the coordinated release of oil reserves from emergency stockpiles with international partners.
“Tonight, I can announce that the United States has worked with 30 other countries to release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world,” Biden said on Capitol Hill. “America will lead that effort, releasing 30 million barrels from our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve… These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home.”
The United States, however, uses an average of 18 million barrels a day, according to the latest estimate from the EIA. That was calculated for 2020, when demand was comparatively low.
Gas prices briefly dipped when the administration tapped the emergency reserves for political purposes ahead of Thanksgiving in November. Prices dropped from $3.48 a gallon the week of Nov. 29, days after Biden ordered 50 million barrels released, to a low of $3.38 by Jan. 3, only to keep soaring. The nation entered March with the highest prices seen since the summer of 2014 with Americans now paying an average $3.70 a gallon.
In his Tuesday night address, Biden made no mention of loosening up on American oil and gas producers after the administration quietly put a halt on new federal land leases for drilling last month.
Also absent from the president’s remarks was any mention of nuclear-generated electricity as a viable long-term alternative to the efficient and low-cost fossil fuels despised by Democrats. While domestic capital- and labor-intensive oil and gas operations would still require time to come online, nuclear generation would take far longer, but could adequately supplement instantaneous power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
Germany is the European Union’s most dependent state on Russian gas supplies. It gets a third of its oil and more than half of its gas, and is preparing to reverse course on the decision to phase out nuclear power.
Biden’s promises to maintain hostility to American oil and gas operations came hours after Democrats tanked legislation to designed to counter Russian oil imports and remove barriers to domestic production.
The “American Energy Independence from Russia Act,” which reauthorized the Keystone Pipeline and restarted oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters, was rejected by 220 Democrats.