Biden blames Putin’s gas price hike for record inflation in March

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  • Biden said 70% of price increases in March were due to Putin’s gasoline “price hike”.
  • The US Department of Labor report said gasoline prices rose 18.3% in March after rising 6.6% in February.
  • Biden said sales of E15 ethanol-blended gas — $0.10 cheaper than other gases — will be allowed in the United States.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that March’s record inflation figures were largely due to a spike in gasoline prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden was referring to a U.S. Department of Labor report released on Tuesday that said gasoline prices rose 18.3% in March after jumping 6.6% in February. He also said consumer prices rose 8.5% in March from a year earlier – the biggest 12-month increase since December 1981.

Addressing White House moves to cut gasoline prices in a speech at an ethanol plant in Iowa on Tuesday, Biden said, “We’ve seen in inflation data from today: 70% of March’s price increase came from Putin’s hike in gasoline prices. We must meet this challenge with the urgency it demands.”

In early March, Biden announced that the United States had banned imports of Russian liquefied natural gas, oil and coal, in response to Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine, saying the United States would not “subsidize not Putin’s war. He said the ban would negatively affect the United States and called the prospect of higher gas costs “Putin’s price hike”.

Russia is the world’s third largest producer of crude oil and the world’s second largest exporter, according to the International Energy Agency. The cost of crude jumped after the Kremlin sent its troops to Ukraine, which resulted in higher prices for petroleum products refined from it.

In Iowa on Tuesday, Biden said, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas and food prices around the world.”

In response to high gasoline prices, Biden said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should introduce an emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline — gasoline blended with 15% ethanol — to be sold in the United States this summer. That’s on average $0.10 per gallon cheaper than E10 gasoline, Biden added, though some experts have warned that E15’s lower energy content means motorists will get lower mileage per gallon and may need to be refueled more frequently.

“You’re not going to show up at your local gas station and see a bag above the pump that has the cheapest gasoline in it,” he said. “You will be able to continue to fill up on E15.”

Biden said families’ ability to get gas shouldn’t ‘be dependent on a dictator declaring war and committing genocide on the other side of the world’, calling the actions of Russia in the Ukrainian war of genocide, rather than war crimes.

According to the American Automobile Association, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.08 on Wednesday. That compares to an average of $4.33 a month ago and $2.86 at the same time last year.

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