Fox News reporter Peter Doocy triggered a tense confrontation with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki by asking why the Biden administration is blaming Russia for rising gas prices.
During a press briefing, Psaki had a tense and lengthy back-and-forth with Doocy over rising gas prices in the United States, which have hit new record highs this week.
Doocy called out the White House for saying Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for the past few months of soaring US gas prices because of his invasion of Ukraine in the last couple of weeks.
“Why did you guys decide to rebrand the rise in gas prices as the ‘PutinPriceHike’?” Doocy asked.
“I mean, if you want to use that on Fox, I welcome that,” Psaki shot back.
Doocy fired back by reminding Psaki that the Biden administration previously said the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues were the cause of inflation.
Psaki said she didn’t think “anybody was predicting” Russia would go to war with Ukraine.
“Events in the world, including the invasion by Russia of a foreign country, does prompt instability and volatility in the global oil markets,” Psaki said.
“And there are all sorts of different issues that can impact that.
“That’s what we’re seeing now.”
“If President Putin’s build-up of military troops is leading to volatility and an increase in oil and prices, hence you have a Putin gas-price pump,” she added.
Their back-and-forth continued:
Doocy: “Does President Biden think that each of these 9,000 leases that are available have oil or gas in them? Because industry experts are saying that that accusation is a complete red herring. Some permits are viable, and some are not. When you say that, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding as to how this process works.”
Psaki: “Well, first of all, nearly 60% of these acres remain non-producing, that’s a lot. In the range of 20 million acres. So there are 9,000 unused approved permits to drill in. That should not require us inviting them to do that. They should do that themselves.”
Doocy: “What about additional permits.”
“There will be costs as well here in the United States,” Biden said earlier.
“I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”
From USA Today:
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told USA TODAY last week that sanctions put on Russia by the U.S. and European Union severely hindered Russia’s ability to sell crude oil, one of the biggest determiners for gas prices.
Because the country is one of the biggest energy suppliers, crude oil prices have dramatically risen.
The cost for a barrel of crude oil had ups and downs on Monday. A barrel of U.S. crude oil settled at $119.40 a barrel, up 3.2%, after earlier touching $130.50.
Brent crude, the international standard, settled at $123.21 a barrel, up 4.3%, after earlier topping $139, The Associated Press reported.
The U.S. imported about 209,000 barrels per day of crude oil in 2021, according to the White House.
While that is only 3% of the import market in the U.S., Russia plays a big role because it produces “heavier, sour crude,” Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a professor at the University of Houston, said.
He added Russian crude is needed because U.S. refineries are not designed to use 100% of the light, sweet crude it produces.