US bans Russian energy imports
US President Joe Biden has announced a ban on Russian oil and gas imports in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on Tuesday, a move that threatens to send global gas and oil prices even higher than the record-setting costs the commodities are already fetching.
The president called on the nation to use the events as an opportunity to transition to renewable energy, insisting that if “no one has to worry about the price at the gas pump in the future, tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as weapons against other nations.”
Biden warned oil and gas companies against jacking up prices unnecessarily, declaring that while “Putin’s war against Ukraine is causing gas prices to rise…it’s no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit the situation or American consumers.”
“Russia’s aggression is costing us all, and it’s no time for profiteering or price-gouging,” Biden said, hailing the blanket ban on all imports of Russian oil and gas as “another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
“This is a step we are taking to further inflict pain on Putin,” the president boasted, even while acknowledging “there will be costs as well in the US.”
Today, I’m announcing that the United States is targeting a main artery of Russia’s economy.We are banning all imports of Russian oil and gas.— President Biden (@POTUS) March 8, 2022
Americans will have to pay for what Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) called “the cost of standing up for freedom” in the coming weeks as the sanctions are expected to send energy prices soaring worldwide.
Ahead of Biden’s announcement, the Democratic senator told CNN that the price of oil could very well double to $300 per barrel, with gas prices more than tripling to $10-$14 per gallon.
The repercussions from the price shock will be felt worldwide, he continued, as costs continue to surge. Acknowledging that “the strength of our sanctions, of the costs we’re imposing on Putin…are more successful and more sustainable when they’re coordinated,” he praised the administration for working together with Europe on the looming import ban instead of pushing ahead unilaterally.
“We have to realize that it’s a global integrated market, it is tough to just turn on the taps and increase production quickly - it’s not like phoning up Amazon,” he explained, cautioning “we are going to see increased gas prices here in the US, in Europe they will see dramatic increases in prices, that’s the cost of standing up for freedom and of standing alongside the Ukrainian people. We need to see the cost and benefit here.”
The senator also admitted the White House has been in negotiations with its once-sworn enemies in Venezuela and Iran, two major oil producers Washington is suddenly seeing in a new light for their potential to bail out countries soon to be running on empty in the absence of Russian energy supplies, but argued the focus should be on Canada first. However, he acknowledged Putin “had Western Europe over a barrel” - literally and figuratively - regarding the highly sought-after commodities.
Russia is the second-largest oil exporter in the world, while the US is the largest oil consumer. While Moscow supplies only about 7% of US oil, Europe is much more heavily reliant on the nation for its energy supplies.
Fresh polls claim that Americans are willing to pay more at the pump in order to stick it to Putin. A Quinnipiac survey conducted over the weekend, which found 71% of Americans supported a ban on Russian oil even if it led to higher gas prices. More than half of respondents (56%) even suggested the US hadn’t gone far enough with its sanctions and called for tougher moves.