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Top Electric Car Innovator Calls for 'Immediate' Increase in Oil & Gas Output to Fight Russia: 'Extraordinary Times'

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One of the world's leading electric car innovators is calling for more oil drilling "immediately" at this crucial moment in history.

Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, wrote in a tweet some say was aimed at the Biden administration: "Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures."

In a second tweet, the world's richest man said: "Obviously, this would negatively affect Tesla, but sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil & gas exports."

As CBN News has reported, as the U.S. deploys economic sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, we continue to indirectly fund the Russian war machine because we're buying Russian oil at much higher prices.

The U.S. imported 245 million barrels of oil from Russia last year — about 8% of all U.S. oil imports — up from 198 million barrels in 2020. That's less than the U.S. gets from Canada or Mexico but more than it imported last year from Saudi Arabia.

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Now Capitol Hill lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for President Biden to ban Russian oil and natural gas imports as the next step to punish Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine. 

Some economic analysts believe such action could drive up energy prices in the U.S. even further. But some critics say we wouldn't be importing so much Russian oil, and prices would be much cheaper too, if Biden hadn't taken action to slash America's oil and gas output, like killing the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline soared 45 cents a gallon in the past week and topped $4.06 on Monday, according to auto club AAA. The price of regular gasoline broke $4 a gallon on Sunday for the first time in nearly 14 years and is now up nearly 50% from a year ago.

GasBuddy, which tracks prices down to the service-station level, said Monday that the U.S. was likely to break its record price of $4.10 a gallon, but that does not account for inflation. In today's terms, the record price would be equal to about $5.24 after accounting for the massive spike in inflation that we've also seen in the past year.

But the worst may still be up ahead when it comes to gas prices.

"Forget the $4 per gallon mark, the nation will soon set new all-time record highs and we could push closer to a national average of $4.50," said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. "We've never been in this situation before, with this level of uncertainty. ... Americans will be feeling the pain of the rise in prices for quite some time."

In his State of the Union address on March 1, Biden said he would release 30 million barrels from the strategic oil reserve to bring down prices.  But critics called it a small band-aid on Biden's misguided energy policy that has again made America dependent on foreign oil.

In what was supposed to be a secret trip, senior U.S. officials visited with the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela over the weekend to discuss the chance of easing oil sanctions on the major crude-exporting country. The outcome of the talks with autocratic ruler Nicolas Maduro's government wasn't immediately clear, according to the Associated Press. 

Biden may also visit Saudi Arabia sometime this spring in an effort to repair relations with the kingdom and to try to persuade the king to pump more oil, according to Axios

Biden may face a tough fight there though. He reversed a terrorism designation of Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels that a Saudi-led coalition is battling — a decision he's now being lobbied to reconsider. 

Biden also scolded the Saudis for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And he declassified an intelligence report that concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely approved the assassination. The Saudi government has denied the claim.

In a response that may have been directed at the White House, bin Salman told The Atlantic during an interview published last week, "We don't have the right to lecture you in America," he said. "The same goes the other way."

In one of his first actions in office, President Biden signed 27 executive orders to address climate change on Jan. 27, 2021. Now, even some liberal pundits are calling on him to restart U.S. energy production. 

As The Media Research Center's Newsbusters noted on Sunday, CNN's Fareed Zakaria has joined the calls for Biden to ramp up U.S. oil production. 

Zakaria told his audience, "Today, the United States is the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, it can ramp up production and exports and help turn on spigots in other countries."

He also explained there's an environmental benefit of the U.S. producing its own oil and natural gas rather than having it shipped from Russia. "U.S. gas leaks less methane than Russian gas and U.S. oil production is also less environmentally harmful than Russian production," Zakaria said. 

He concluded by saying that now was time for the U.S. to strike at "Vladimir Putin's real Achilles' heel" and sanction Russia's oil and gas economy. But to do this, the United States must take steps to "support all non-Russian energy," according to Newsbusters.

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of