On Tuesday, President Joe Biden Tuesday ordered an immediate ban on Russian oil imports. This is in retaliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine two weeks ago.
Biden’s decision comes amid support from American lawmakers and voters. However, the decision will likely drive gas prices further up.
A Blow To Putin’s War Machine
Biden announced the move to reporters at the White House. “We're banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy,” he said. US ports will no longer accept shipments of Russian oil imports. As a result, the “American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's war machine.”
The ban is the latest among a series of US and European sanctions imposed on Moscow. Russian soldiers are currently targeting cities in Ukraine, killing hundreds of civilians. Millions of Ukrainians are now fleeing their homes to seek shelter elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Biden affirmed America’s support for Ukraine. “Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a horrible price, but this much is already clear: Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin.
Putin may be able to take a city, but he'll never be able to hold the country,” he said. Despite the support, Biden promised that the US will not send troops to the area to help fight off the Russians from Ukraine.
Oil Prices Surge As Supplies Tightened Even More
Expectedly, oil prices jumped on the news that oil supplies will continue to remain tight. The benchmark Brent crude oil went up by 5.4% to $129.91 per barrel. Consequently, retail gasoline prices also spiked in the US.
By Tuesday, the average cost of a gallon of gas is now $4.17. This is the highest average price recorded in American history. Previously, the highest average cost was $4.11 set in 2000 during the global financial crisis.
US Isn’t Dependent on Russian Oil and Gas
The President signed an executive order on the ban soon after his remarks. Biden’s executive order covers not just oil imports but natural gas as well.
Russia exports between 4 and 5 million barrels of crude oil a day. It also exports around 8,500 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually.
In fact, the US only accounts for around 1% of Russian oil exports and around 4% of natural gas.
Russia can probably survive a US ban, but if it loses its European customers, the country will face a serious economic blow. Already, the UK announced it will phase out its dependence on Russian oil imports by year’s end.
Watch the ABC News video reporting that President Joe Biden bans US imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal:
What do you think of America’s move to ban oil and gas imports into the country? Is this more of a symbolic gesture given we’re not really dependent on Russian oil imports? Or, is this a convenient excuse for higher gas prices?
Tell us what you think. Share your comments below.
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