‘Hate To Say It’: Elon Musk Says US Needs To Boost Fossil Fuel Production ‘Immediately’

Thomas Catenacci

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the U.S. must “immediately” increase its production of crude oil and natural gas amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis which has roiled energy markets.

“Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately,” Musk tweeted on Friday evening. “Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”

In the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the price of crude oil worldwide has skyrocketed, causing gasoline prices for U.S. consumers to surge as well. European natural gas prices have hit new highs repeatedly, touching $215 per megawatt hour on Wednesday.

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. reached $3.92 per gallon on Saturday, according to AAA data. The last time pump prices surpassed $3.92 per gallon was in April 2012, Energy Information Administration data showed.

Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of both crude oil and natural gas. The nation, which depends on its fossil fuel sector to fund 40% of its federal budget, exported nearly 65% of the 10.5 million barrels of crude oil per day it drilled in 2020.

The U.S. imported more than 670,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in 2021, a 24% year-over-year uptick compared to 2020.

Meanwhile, both Republican and Democrats have urged the Biden administration to implement a ban on Russian oil imports amid the invasion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would support such a ban.

But the White House has warned that such a measure would harm consumers in the U.S. and Europe.

Like Musk, Republicans and fossil fuel industry groups have also asked President Joe Biden to reverse his energy policies and incentivize greater domestic production.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said in response to Musk’s tweet.

Tesla vehicles represented 79% of all electric vehicles sales in 2020, according to Experian data. While Tesla is the largest U.S. producer of EVs, the White House has largely ignored the automaker despite aggressively pushing renewable energy sources.

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