A leading Democrat has essentially dismissed higher fuel prices Americans are being forced to pay due to a combination of factors, saying the country needs to be weaning itself off fossil fuels anyway.
Rep. Pramilla Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the House Progressive Caucus, also said that boosting domestic production would not help keep prices down in the long run anyway amid price spikes due to Biden administration energy policies and, more recently, war in Ukraine.
“[I]f we ever want to be truly free of the ability of dictators to blackmail us over oil and gas, we should be investing right here at home in renewable energy technologies,” she told MSNBC on Friday as gas prices rose above $5 a gallon in California and rose by dimes per gallon around the country.
“We should be weaning ourselves off fossil fuels so that this situation that we’re in does not happen again, in terms of feeling like we can’t stop Russian oil and gas imports because it’s going to drive up prices here at home,” she continued.
“By the way, no matter what we do, prices of gas are going to go up. So, any Republicans who try to say that it’s drill, baby, drill, and that solves the problem, it’s wrong. That is not the case. We are going to see gas prices rise, but it is in service to trying to quell a dictator,” Jayapal continued.
Nationally, prices climbed 11 cents overnight Friday, according to AAA, the highest one-day increase since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Gas prices in California broke record highs in the state averaging $5.07 per gallon, while cities like Syracuse, New York, are experiencing the highest prices in 10 years, and Michigan is seeing the price rise 39 cents in just one week,” The Daily Wire noted.
“A report by Triple-A ranked the states with the highest gas prices currently. As usual, California was at the top of that list, with the highest reported cost at $5.07 per gallon,” ABC 30 reported.
And in Syracuse, the average cost of gas “increased to $4.026 per gallon of regular fuel Friday morning, according to AAA,” Syracuse.com reported. That figure is up “20 cents from two days ago, when it was $3.808” and “it’s also up 30 cents from last week when prices averaged $3.720.”
The sharp increase is largely due to Russia’s war with Ukraine; Russia is one of the world’s top oil producers. Oil prices increased this week to more than $100 a barrel. CBS reports the price of Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, neared $113 a barrel, its highest level since 2014, on Wednesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she supports banning Russian oil imports to the U.S., which could help President Joe Biden and global allies in isolating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. However, a ban could also cause a bigger increase in prices at the pump, fueling Republicans’ calls to expand oil or gas drilling in the U.S.
As prices soar, 25 GOP governors issued a letter Friday demanding that the president alleviate the effect of price spikes long term by making the U.S. energy independent through the re-opening of federal lands for oil supply.
“As governors, we call on President Biden to reverse his policies and restore America’s energy independence for our citizens as well as our allies abroad,” the letter said.
“By removing his bans on new oil and gas development on federal lands, building the Keystone XL pipeline, and reinstating regulatory reforms to streamline energy permitting, we can protect our national energy security and sell to our friends rather than buy from our enemies—specifically Russia. Family budgets have already been stretched thin following record inflation,” the governors added.