President Joe Biden appeared to try to put a positive spin on skyrocketing gas prices Monday while taking questions from reporters during his trip to Japan.
When asked about the economy, inflation, and the record prices Americans continue to pay at the pump, Biden characterized the increased cost of gasoline as an “incredible transition.”
“When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” Biden said alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishid.
The comment came as the national average cost of a gallon of gas sat at a record-high $4.596, with several states paying more than $6.00.
Biden went on to take credit for gas prices not being “even worse.”
“What I’ve been able to do to keep it from getting even worse—and it’s bad,” he said.
Speaking to broader concerns about food shortages, inflation, and other poor economic indicators both domestically and abroad, Biden suggested the problems will likely persist when he said, “This is going to be a haul.”
But when asked if he thought the United States would soon be entering a recession, the president responded “no.”
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel released a statement the following day blaming the Biden administration for the continually elevated cost of gas.
“Another day, another new record high gas price in Biden’s America,” the statement reads. “Joe Biden doesn’t care about the historic inflation and skyrocketing gas prices families are facing everyday as a result of his failed agenda. The pain is the point for Biden and Democrats, and Americans will continue to suffer as long as Biden is in charge.”
Biden and other senior administration officials have continually blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the inflated gas prices. In response to the invasion on Feb. 24, the United States and many of its Western allies put a halt to all imports of Russian oil and gas.
While the cost of gas did spike dramatically after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it had already been rising steadily throughout Biden’s first year in office. After the sanctions, the price leveled off before increasing to new record highs in recent weeks.
In an apparent attempt to rein in the cost of gas back in March, Biden announced the release of an unprecedented 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“It’s helped, but it’s not been enough,” Biden said Monday.