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White House eyes unusual allies to work around Russian oil challenges

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Gasoline prices are pushing further north of $4 per gallon as President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will ban all Russian oil imports in retaliation for the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Even before the invasion, inflation, at its highest level in decades, had become the top issue on the minds of voters ahead of elections this November.

American officials have been working behind the scenes to try to boost global energy supplies, starting during the weeks leading up to the invasion.

U.S. officials visited Venezuela last week to discuss easing U.S. sanctions to help the South American oil giant boost exports. And talks aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal have led to optimism that Iranian oil could also lead to a resumption in trade for barrels kept off the market by sanctions.

President Biden may travel to Saudi Arabia in April. Axios reported Biden’s advisers are discussing a possible visit this spring to convince the Kingdom to pump more oil.