More Pain At the Pump: NH Senators Back Russian Oil Import Ban
Gas prices will likely continue their upward trend, as President Joe Biden announced a ban on the export of Russian oil with the support of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.
Biden acknowledged as much during a White House speech on Tuesday morning.
"This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin. But there will be costs as well here in the United States. I said I would level with the American people from the beginning. And when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost — it’s going to cost us as well, in the United States," Biden said.
The average price of regular in New Hampshire jumped up another 11 cents from $4.065 to $4.173, which is the least expensive in New England according to a AAA survey of prices. Maine's average is $4.192 up from 4.094 on Monday, while Massachusetts is at $4.243 up from $4.160 on Monday.
Blames Oil Companies for Lack of Production
In his speech, Biden denied allegations that his administration has held back domestic energy production. He said that the oil industry has 9,000 permits to drill onshore, but is not using them to produce energy.
"Let me be clear: They are not using them for production now. That’s their decision. These are the facts. We should be honest about the facts," Biden said.
Sen. Maggie Hassan said she urged the Biden Administration to take steps to blunt the impact of price increases for consumers by making sure the oil industry does not take advantage of the situation.
"I continue to urge the administration to take steps to mitigate the impact of these sanctions on consumers, including by cracking down on any manipulation of the market by 'Big Oil' and supporting commonsense measures like suspending the gas tax for 2022 so that families feel less pain at the pump," Hassan said in a statement.
She also cited her father and his warning that failure to stand up to a tyrant threatens the entire globe.
"We must stay clear-eyed about the danger that Putin poses, and inflict crippling consequences on the Russian economy and Putin's ability to wage war," Hassan said.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Biden made the right call with the ban.
“The U.S. vowed to hold Putin accountable for any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and this is a result of Putin’s actions. Putin and Putin alone bears responsibility for the barbaric attacks on city centers and civilian populations in Ukraine, retaliatory damages felt by the Russian population, and surging energy prices throughout the world. The international community will continue to impose devastating costs for his belligerence against Ukraine, and threats to Eastern Europe and liberal democracies around the globe," Shaheen said in a statement.
Other Steps to Bring Down Prices
Maine state Rep. Laurel Libby is proposing legislation to use part of a projected $1.2 billion tax revenue surplus to suspend the state's fuel tax. She has a petition on political her website for supporters to sign.
Gov. Chris Sununu did not respond to Seacoast Current's question on Tuesday morning about suspending New Hampshire's state gas tax.
Hassan said she continues to work to build support for her bill to suspend the federal gas tax suspension in Congress and find a path forward for it.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH