President Biden on Tuesday said he is doing “everything” within his power to “bring down the price” of gas across the nation, saying family budgets and Americans’ abilities to “fill up” their gas tanks should not “hinge on whether a dictator” like Russian President Vladimir Putin “declares war” or “commits genocide.”
The president, speaking in Menlo, Iowa, at the country’s largest corn ethanol producing facility, formally announced the authorization of E15 gasoline in the United States in an effort to increase fuel supply and reduce gas prices across the nation.
INFLATION SURGES 8.5% IN MARCH, HITTING A NEW 40-YEAR HIGH
E15 gasoline uses a 15% ethanol blend and is set to be sold in the United States this summer in an effort to expand Americans’ access to affordable fuel supply. According to the White House, at current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average.
The president on Tuesday addressed inflation, which accelerated in March to a new four-decade high as Russia’s war on Ukraine fueled rapid price gains for oil and gas that wiped out the benefits of rising wages for most Americans.
“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world,” Biden said. “Everything is going up.”
Biden, pointing to inflation numbers released Tuesday morning, said the “increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline.”
The consumer price index rose 8.5% in March from a year ago, according to a new Labor Department report released Tuesday, marking the fastest increase since January 1982, when inflation hit 8.4%. The CPI — which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents — jumped 1.2% in the one-month period from January.
Biden last month announced a ban on all imports of Russian oil, gas and energy to the United States, targeting the “main artery” of Russia’s economy amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, but he warned that the ban would cost American families.
BIDEN TO ANNOUNCE AUTHORIZATION OF E15 GASOLINE IN AN EFFORT TO INCREASE US FUEL SUPPLY, REDUCE GAS PRICES
Russian oil exports account for about one-third of Europe’s oil imports, but Russian exports are just under 10% of U.S. overall imports.
“I’m doing everything within my power by executive orders to bring down the price and address the Putin price hikes,” Biden said Tuesday. “I, in fact, we’ve already made progress since March. Inflation data was collected.”
Biden added: “Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war, commits genocide, a half a world away, to help deal with this Putin price hike.”
Biden, speaking on the announcement to authorize E15, said “it’s not going to solve all our problems.”
“It’s going to help some people, and I’m committed to whatever I can to help, even if it’s an extra buck or two in the pockets when they fill up, or make a difference in people’s lives,” Biden said.
The president said the Biden administration is “investing more than $100 million to build biofuel infrastructure for the future.”
“Things like land pumps, blender pumps, the gas pumps — it can handle higher blends, bioethanol and diesel fuel,” Biden said.
Biden said that, “Of course, there’s more we need to do to bring down the prices for American families.”
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Addressing the rising prices of household goods, the president said his administration is “working to address food prices.”
Americans have seen meat prices increase 14.8%, fish 10.9%, eggs 11.2%, milk 13.3%, fruits and vegetables 8.1%, and coffee 11.2% since last year.
Rising inflation is eating away at strong wage gains that American workers have seen in recent months: Real average hourly earnings decreased 0.8% in March from the previous month, as the 1.2% inflation increase eroded the 0.4% total wage gain, according to the Labor Department. On an annual basis, real earnings fell 2.7% in March.
Meanwhile, Biden referred to atrocities committed by Putin and Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians as “genocide” Tuesday.
But last week, the president denied that the attacks amounted to a “genocide” and instead said the atrocities raised to the level of “war crimes.”
Genocide is a type of war crime under international law.