‘Utter Nonsense’: Sen. Hawley Grills Energy Secretary After Pinning Putin For Gas Prices

[Screenshot/YouTube/Josh Hawley]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley grilled Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm during a Thursday hearing for attempting to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for rising gas prices.

Hawley pointed to AAA’s prediction that the national average gas price will potentially cost $6 per gallon, as the average prices of regular and diesel gasoline currently stand at $4.58 and $5.57 per gallon.

“Is this acceptable to you?” Hawley asked.

“No, it is not and you can thank the activity of Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine and those barrels—”

“Oh nonsense,” Hawley interjected. “All due respect, Madame Secretary, that is utter nonsense. In January 2021, the average gas price of my state was $2.07, eight months later, long before Vladimir Putin had invaded Ukraine, that price was up over 30% and has been going up consistently ever since. What are you doing to reverse this administration’s policies that are drawing down our own supply of energy in this country, that are throttling oil and gas production in the United States of America. What are you doing about it?”

Granholm denied that it is the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration that are impacting supply and demand.

“How can you say that when the price of gas was up over 30% from January—you can answer my questions and it is my time Madame Secretary, so why don’t you answer my question. From January to August, the price of gasoline was up over 30% and in my state alone, it has been a continuous upward tick since then.” (RELATED: ‘Putin’s Gas Price Hike’: Psaki Pins Russia And Oil Companies For Rising Gas Prices) 

The senator then listed the Biden administration’s revoking of the Keystone XL Pipeline, re-entering the Paris Climate Accord, halting oil and gas leases on federal lands and directing federal agencies to shift support away from all fossil fuels in the first few days of the presidency. Granholm said 94% of oil executives surveyed by the Dallas Fed said the administration’s policies had no impact on the current costs of oil and gas.

“I’m not interested in the opinions of those people, I’m interested in the facts,” Hawley said. “Are you telling me that these policies had no effect, is that your testimony? Madame Secretary, are you telling me, under oath, that these policies had no effect?”

“They did not ask Vladimir Putin about the increase in demand and the decrease in supply from pulling Russian barrels of oil off the market thanks to rightly, the United States saying ‘we’re not going to take Russian oil’ coming out of COVID,” she said.

“So what explains the increase between January and August 2021?” the senator pressed.

“Coming out of COVID, there was an increase in demand because people were driving again, when there was no demand, the prices dropped,” she said. “That is a basic law of economics.”

“I have to say, Madame Secretary, with all due respect, your answers are insulting,” Hawley said. “And they are insulting to the people of Missouri who are looking for action.”

Hawley repeatedly demanded an answer to the administration’s plan to bring down the price of gasoline, leading the two to talk over one another.

“Sir, if you could let me finish,” she said. “I am answering your question, sir. Oil is traded on a global market. We are paying extremely high prices today just as they are in Japan…”

“What are you doing to bring it down?” Hawley pressed. The energy secretary said the agency is calling for an increase in supply of oil barrels and has tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to which the senator repeatedly asked who she is asking for an increase in supply from.

“Who are you calling for an increase in supply from?” he asked.

“From our domestic oil and gas manufacturers, from international oil and gas manufacturers,” she said. “We want to increase supply and that’s why the president released an unprecedented amount from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and our international allies also released from their reserves to try and balance out supply and demand while the oil and gas companies increase supply and the Energy Information Administration has projected that they will have increased, in the United States, about 1 million barrels a day by the end of this year.”

The White House rebranded rising costs of gas as “Putin’s Price Hike” after the average price of gasoline skyrocketed to exceed $4 a gallon following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though prices drastically rose in the months prior to the invasion. Biden even tapped the SPR in November to combat costs.