Chuck Schumer Fact-Checked, Misleading Public on Russian Oil Imports

Chuck Schumer Fact-Checked, Misleading Public on Russian Oil Imports

( – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is in hot water again. This time, the well-known politician stands accused of misleading the public about just how much Russian oil the US imports at any given time. Here’s his latest claim — and why it’s false.

Schumer’s Crude Comments

Schumer’s controversial comments came during a March 1 press conference. The Democrat leader and his colleagues stopped to answer questions for reporters in the Capitol lobby shortly after a scheduled luncheon.

One of the journalists in attendance asked Schumer to share his opinion on Senator Joe Manchin (D-VA)’s recent proposal to increase oil production within the United States. Manchin, who serves on the Senate Energy Committee, wants the government to ban imports, compensating by significantly ramping up the domestic fuel industry here on home soil.

Schumer was quick to respond. He first pointed out that the US is a major producer of fuel already. Most people know that to be true, but it’s what he said next that veered off course. “…We only get 1 percent of any imports from Russia,” he exclaimed.

The Senate majority leader also dismissed the idea that Russian imports were even the real problem triggering high gas prices across the country. He blamed that on price gouging and monopolies and suggested that Democrats were prepared to tackle both issues.

Why Schumer’s Claim Isn’t True

So, what’s wrong with Schumer’s comment, exactly? According to statistics published by the US Energy Administration, Russian oil accounted for just over 8% of America’s total oil imports between June and November 2021.

At best, Schumer’s math is off by approximately 7%. But the fact that someone who is in a position of power isn’t aware of the difference at such a critical time also leaves many concerned. How can Democrats tackle the problem if they aren’t even sure of the proper place to begin?

The president of Lipow Oil Associates, Andy Lipow, confirmed similar statistics during an interview with the Washington Post on March 2. He says Russian oil accounted for around 8% of all imports for the majority of 2021. Around 3% of that total volume entered the country in the form of crude.

Why the Truth Matters

While it sounds like a small percentage is in question, the truth does matter in this issue. In fact, some would call it critical. Aside from the globally understood need for transparency and accuracy among political leaders, the fact that so much of America’s oil comes from Russia (8% is a lot) likely means the ongoing crisis in Ukraine will have an indirect effect on oil prices at home. They’ll likely continue to increase as we seek to buy crude elsewhere.

The conflict and confusion around oil imports also leaves many analysts pondering a much different question: is this a sign we need to become less dependent on other countries for our oil? If America is already a major producer, perhaps it’s time to focus our efforts here at home. A resilient industry on home soil would effectively protect us from shifting international supply lines and pricing fluctuations.

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