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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says there's no "quick fix" to the country's record-high gas prices

Energy secretary Granholm on gas prices
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on record-high gas prices 06:45

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm admitted that the country's record high gas prices are "unsustainable." She says the Biden administration is working to address the issue, but warned that it could take time. 

"The prices are unsustainable for many people right now," Granholm told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday. "Everyday citizens who are on fixed incomes [are] paying huge amounts of money that they had not anticipated or budgeted for just to get to work. It's unsustainable for many and unfortunately there's not a quick fix."

According to the American Automobile Association, average gas prices throughout the nation reached the highest recorded price on Tuesday at $5.01 per gallon. The average price is up $2 in comparison last year. 

Granholm said Americans should direct their frustrations with the record-high gas prices in part toward the war in Ukraine, since the U.S. stopped buying oil from Russia following the invasion. Russia is, and was, one of the biggest crude oil exporters, creating a "global problem" when it comes to oil supply, she said.

"When they invaded Ukraine, a number of countries like the United States, Canada and others have said 'we're not going to buy Russian oil,'" Granholm said. "And when that happens, that pulls millions of barrels off the global market and that creates the supply crunch that as caused the price of gasoline at the pump to go up $1.70 since the invasion of Ukraine," Granholm said. 

President Joe Biden, she says, is working to combat the issue "by calling upon increases in supply both at home and globally." On Wednesday, Mr. Biden wrote a letter to oil refiners, calling out their "unprecedented profits" amidst the shortage and urging them to collaborate with his administration "to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis."

Mr. Biden has been releasing 1 million barrels each day from the strategic petroleum reserve, which Granholm says is the nation's "biggest tool" in boosting supply. But while the reserve's oil "does moderate a bit," the energy secretary says the reserve "does not quite fill the gap." 

She said Mr. Biden is calling for a meeting with refiners to discuss what else can be done. 

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