President Joe Biden announced a ban on the export of Russian oil and energy products onto American soil on Tuesday, March 9th. Biden chose to take this course of action as retaliation against Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. This move comes due to political pressure within the United States, with some in political circles asking for Russia and Putin to be squeezed further economically. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil, gas, and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin,” Biden said as he claimed the United States was targeting the “main artery” of Russia’s economy. Biden spoke of how this decision had been made after consulting with the USA’s allies in Europe. The United Kingdom announced that it would stop importing oil from Russia at the end of 2022. However, some of the United State’s allies in Europe, notably Germany, depend heavily on Russian energy imports.
Russia is in the top 5 global producers of oil. It produces 7% of the global oil supply, which comes in at an equivalent of 7 million barrels per day. The war in Ukraine, and the ensuing ban of Russian oil products, will have an economic impact on a global scale. Before the oil ban was announced, Russia cautioned that it would result in dire consequences. Biden acknowledged the effect it would have on gas prices in the USA. He mentioned that the move was “not without cost at home.” Biden realizes the decision he has made will result in the increase of gas in his country. This will cause a domino effect on a US economy that is still in the process of working out of the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The price of gas soaring will force the average person on the street to prioritize fuel and food. “It’s sad that if I stop going to a restaurant, a toxic cycle will be created. If I stop spending money on a restaurant, they’ll get less income, and people could lose their jobs,” lamented Jesus Lopez, who is a janitor in Dallas. Sacrifices will have to be made because gasoline prices are already on the up, increasing by more than 10% in the second week of March. On the 7th of March, the national price of gas was at $4.07 per gallon, with California suffering the highest price at $5.34. The last time gas prices went through such sharp increases was during the financial crisis of 2008. These gas increases come at a difficult time for the US economy as it is going through a period of inflation with consumer prices expected to increase even further.
The US itself is a top producer of oil while importing only 4% of Russia’s oil products. Due to climate change caused by fossil fuels, the Biden Administration is making an effort to move to cleaner sources of energy. The energy industry in the US has made pleas for oil production to be increased. The available options are allowing drilling in federal lands and reopening pipeline projects. The argument can be made that Biden made the ban knowing the country had other options to fall back on. “This moment is a reminder that oil and gas are strategic assets and we need to continue to make investments in them,” said Frank Macchiarola, a senior representative of the American Petroleum Institute.