President Joe Biden and Democrats’ attempt to blame the nationwide gasoline price hike on Russia appears to be working, according to the latest polling data.
The majority of Americans surveyed primarily pinned high gasoline prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the poll released Sunday by ABC News. A whopping 71% of respondents blamed Putin “a great deal” for the high costs at the pump while another 68% blamed Big Oil for the prices, echoing another Democratic talking point.
“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address Putin — the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a press briefing Monday ahead of the government’s monthly inflation report. “But we expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike.”
The Department of Labor reported Tuesday that total inflation hit 8.5% in March, a new 40-year high. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, inflation still soared 6.5%, the quickest pace since 1982.
But the White House has repeatedly pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted global energy markets dominated by Russian supplies gasoline prices, for the high prices. Pump prices hit record highs in March after the invasion.
“The reality is that Russia is one of the three largest oil producers in the world,” Psaki said in March. “And the fact that they have started this conflict, invaded a foreign country, and they are such a big producer of oil in the world is the reason why the global oil markets are disturbed right now and why your gas prices are going up.”
Russian oil and petroleum imports represented just 2% of total U.S. supplies in 2021, according to Energy Information Administration data.
Democrats have also blamed Big Oil for the surge in price, pushing a debunked argument that companies are purposely not producing more energy to force consumer gas prices higher and reap the windfall profits.
“The problem is not a shortage of permits or land – Big Oil is choosing to keep supply low, prices high and their pockets lined with the hard-earned dollars of struggling American consumers,” Rep. Frank Pallone, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s chairman and top Democrat, said during an April 6 hearing about price gouging at the pump.
Pallone and several other committee Democrats said oil companies have used the Ukraine crisis to boost profits during the hearing in which several Big Oil executives testified.