U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday warned that the nation would continue to feel the sting of price shocks if it did not break its dependence on fossil fuels.
Speaking to reporters from the White House, Granholm said the nation would feel price shocks so long as it remains “overly reliant on oil and fossil fuels.”
“This is not going to be the last time. The next time that there’s a war, the next time there’s a pandemic, or another hurricane – these extreme weather events we are experiencing – they will impact the access that we have to fossil fuels,” Granholm said.
She added that the only way for the nation to avoid “boom-and-bust cycles” was to break its “sole reliance” on fossil fuels. That effort, she said, would mean diversifying the nation’s fuel sources by deploying “clean energy.”
Granholm is expected to meet with energy companies on Thursday to discuss ways to increase supply to offset record-high fuel prices.
The U.S. has been walloped by high prices at the gas pump – averaging about $5 a gallon nationwide. President Biden has repeatedly pivoted between blaming oil companies chasing after profits and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But the administration’s hostilities towards the fossil fuel industry far predate the rise in gas prices or the war in Ukraine. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to phase out fossil fuels – even at the expense of American jobs. And on his first day in office, the president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have delivered about 870,000 barrels of Canadian oil per day to refineries in Texas.
Despite Granholm’s insistence that a greener U.S. would be largely insulated from price shocks or geopolitical events, electric vehicles rely on essential raw materials like cobalt, lithium, and nickel for batteries which are just as vulnerable to price fluctuations and are in short supply in the U.S.
According to a new report from AlixPartners, costs for these materials have more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic. A shortage of utility-scale batteries is also creeping into the markets, according to Reuters. The shortages may delay delivery of such batteries months or a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.