Biden vows to do ‘everything’ to ‘limit the pain’ on gas prices amid Russia’s Ukraine invasion

President’s national address comes after Russian invasion late on Wednesday

Biden vows to help US consumers with gas prices after Russia invades Ukraine

President Joe Biden acknowledged a wave of incoming turbulence for US gas prices and potentially other areas of the economy on Thursday but vowed that his administration would do “everything” it could to minimise the effects felt by Americans.

He made the remarks during a short national address and subsequent q&a session with reporters at the White House, his first address of the type since Russian forces invaded Ukraine late on Wednesday night.

"I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that the American people are feeling at the gas pump,” declared the president.

Gas prices around the nation were already reacting to news of the invasion on Thursday. The average price of standard gas in the US rose eight cents on the dollar overnight, according to AAA, and rose by 9 cents for mid-grade fuel.

Russia is a minor supplier of US gasoline, responsible for a share of about 8 per cent of the US market, but is also reportedly “colluding”, according to a report in The Intercept, with Saudi Arabia to drive up gas prices worldwide. Apart from releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, there is little the US administration can do to control gas prices beyond avoiding Russian energy companies when targeting Moscow for sanctions.

Still, Mr Biden vowed to do whatever he could to minimise the effects of worsening US-Russia relations in the wallets of American consumers.

“The United States will issue additional barrels of oil as conditions warrant,” said Mr Biden, adding that the US was working with other nations to issue a “collective” release of barrels from strategic reserves in allied nations.

“Markets are going to respond all over the world,” he continued. “There’s no doubt about that.”

He added to Fox News’s Peter Doocy that the pressure exerted by the west would prevent the situation from lasting for a long period of time, and said that Mr Putin would face a tough choice about whether he would let Russia turn into a “second-rate” power and economy.

Oil companies around the world were recording record profits at the end of 2021 as gas prices climbed in the US, and are expected to continue to do well in the months ahead as other parts of the Russian economy suffer.

Mr Biden had a direct warning for those companies on Thursday: "American oil and gas companies should not exploit this moment” to raise prices, he said.

Much of the turmoil in the oil market is being blamed on the pandemic, which cut demand for oil around the world and threw the industry into chaos. The price is expected to continue to rise as some oil-producing nations struggle to ramp up production and others flat-out refuse to do so, with US experts indicating that the average price could reach $4 a gallon by the spring.

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