In searching for an antidote to the soaring gas prices, President Joe Biden appears eager to make the same mistake that empowered President Vladimir Putin with the economic and geopolitical leverage needed to invade Ukraine: allowing hostile nations to fulfill the world’s energy needs.

In addition to attempting to cut deals with adversarial countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela to increase U.S. energy supply (because producing oil and importing it from foreign nations is somehow better for the environment than producing it here?), Biden is doubling down on his push for electric vehicles that are currently dependent on rare minerals primarily produced by China.

“Loosening environmental regulations or pulling back clean energy investment won’t — let me explain — won’t — will not lower energy prices for families, President Biden said on Tuesday while announcing the U.S. ban on Russian oil. “But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles powered by clean energy with tax credits to help American families winterize their homes and use less energy, that will — that will help.”

We can all agree that electric vehicles are a piece of a healthy planet for future generations. However, it’s foolish to pretend that electric vehicles are a viable solution to our energy needs of today. Electric vehicles are too expensive for most Americans to buy, dirty to produce, and require a significant amount of electricity to power charging stations that our energy grids are not yet equipped to produce. Moreover, they require critical minerals primarily controlled by China, which is currently financing Putin’s war in Ukraine.

As Ken Silverstein wrote in Forbes:

China mines 63% of the rare earths today: 140,000 tons of the 240,000 tons that is globally developed. China used to mine 90% of all such minerals. But it nevertheless controls 85% of the processing — the effort made to separate the 17 minerals from the rare earth rock. Consider that the United States still produces 38,000 tons. But that is sent to China for processing.

At the same time, China has consolidated three of its state-owned rare earth companies into one enterprise: China Minmetals Rare Earth Co., which also uses the minerals for smart phones, TVs, and fighter jets.

Instead of going all-in on green energy solutions that will empower China with more economic and geopolitical leverage, the U.S. would be better off encouraging innovation in our own energy sector, ensuring that it’s sustainable, and tapping into the resources we have available now. 

This means supporting increased domestic oil and gas production and reinstating projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline that would have provided more oil in a carbon neutral way. It means incorporating more zero emission nuclear power and fuel, expediting LNG export permits, and capitalizing on carbon capture and storage, a technology that captures carbon dioxide from power and industrial sectors to reduce their emissions. It also means allowing America’s mines to expand the supply of rare earth metals, which are needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles and long-duration, grid-scale storage without relying on China. 

Many of the rare earth metals are the same resources needed for  energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines. Yet, less than two months ago, the Biden administration effectively canceled two long-standing mineral leases at the Twin Metals mine located in northeastern Minnesota that were supplying these resources.

For an administration that prioritizes its energy and climate policies, sourcing these minerals from China makes little sense. The U.S. employs some of the toughest environmental standards in the world. China, on the other hand, continues to pollute. Between 2019 and 2021, the carbon emissions increase in China more than offset the aggregate decline in the rest of the world. Enriching the world’s number one producer of emissions while shutting down mines in the U.S. achieves little beyond the virtue of being able to say those emissions were not produced here.

The supply chain crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with Putin’s war in Ukraine demonstrates how foolish it is for America to line the pockets of adversarial nations and rely on them to fulfill our energy needs. Whether it’s fossil fuels or clean energy technologies, America has the capacity to produce them here and become energy independent—if only the Biden administration would let it. Certainly, that beats the prospect of shifting the world’s reliance from one dictator to the next.