WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he had spoken with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the prior day about Hurricane Ian, adding that the federal government had met every request for help from the coastal state.
Biden also warned oil companies not to use the storm as a pretext to raise gasoline prices, which spiked earlier this year under pressure from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"Do not, let me repeat, do not...use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people" Biden said, speaking at a White House event on hunger. "This small temporary storm impact on oil production provides no excuse for price increases at the pump, none," he added.
After days of preparation, Hurricane Ian on Wednesday began lashing Florida's Gulf Coast with powerful winds and drenching rain, prompting authorities to warn residents to hunker down as the eye of the Category 4 storm lurked just offshore.
Biden described the hurricane as incredibly dangerous and urged Florida residents to obey all warnings related to it.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw, Leah Douglas and Alexandra Alper)