President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the US has banned all oil, natural gas and energy imports from Russia amid war in Ukraine.
Biden described the move as “targeting the main artery of the Russian economy.'
Although Biden said his move comes with bipartisan support in the Congress, he said 'Many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us.'
He said the US produces far more oil domestically than all European countries combined and the US is a net exporter of energy.
'So, we can take this step when others cannot. But, we are working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long-term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well,' he said.
Biden admitted that the move will cause pain for American consumers.
US gasoline prices climbed to their highest in almost 14 years Tuesday. The national average stood at $4.173 a gallon for regular gasoline, its highest since July 2008.
'Putin's war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” he said. “I am going to do everything I can to minimize Putin's price hike here at home.”
Biden reiterated his commitment to release 60 million barrels of oil from the joint reserve with partners, half of which comes from the US.
He noted that the US has provided more than $1 billion in assistance to Ukraine.
'We are enforcing the most significant package of economic sanctions in history, and it is causing significant damage to Russia's economy,' he said.
Biden noted that the Russian ruble is down around 50% since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced its war on Ukraine.
'One ruble is now less than one American penny,' he said.
Biden said his administration has cut some of Russia's largest banks from the global financial system and limited their ability to do international business.
He added that the US has taken action against some Russian oligarchs.
'We understand that Putin's war against the people of Ukraine is causing prices to rise. We get that. But -- it is no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or patting profits, or any kind of effort to exploit this situation,' he said. 'Russia's aggression is costing us all. And, it is no time for profiteering or price gouging.”
Biden argued that his policies do not hold back domestic energy production, noting that the US is approaching record oil and natural gas production.
He said the US energy industry has more than 9,000 permits to drill onshore oil and gas, adding: 'Let me be clear, they are not using them for production right now.'
'This crisis is a stark reminder to protect our economy over the long term that we need to become energy independent,' he said.
The president said he had numerous conversations with European allies in the last three months about how they should wean themselves off Russian oil and urged a transition to clean energy.
He said transforming the American economy to run on electric vehicles powered by clean energy will help and no individual will have to worry about the price at the gas pump in the future.
By Ovunc Kutlu