U.S. President Joe Biden is banning Russian oil imports in an effort to ratchet up sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine.
The move aims to hit Russia’s economy and further isolate President Vladimir Putin. But it will also put even more upward pressure on crude oil and domestic gasoline prices.
“We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” Biden said at a White House announcement on March 8. “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
Later in Texas, Biden acknowledged the energy sanctions will drive up high gas prices. “They’re going to go up,” Biden said when asked about the oil restrictions. “Can’t do much right now, Russia is responsible,” Biden continued when asked what he could do about it.
Crude oil is approaching $130 per barrel. It was in the $60 range a year ago. Gasoline prices in Oregon are averaging $4.59 per gallon — a record high, according to AAA. Fuel prices were just over $3 per gallon a year ago in Oregon.
Diesel prices in Oregon are averaging $4.93 per gallon, also a record high. Gas prices are averaging $4.17 per gallon nationally, a new all-time record, according to AAA. The previous record high was in 2008.
Gasoline prices have also set a record of $5.44 per gallon in California.
Biden’s move garnered political support from both sides of the aisle despite its expected inflationary impacts.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, welcomed Biden’s oil sanctions. “We cannot fund Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine,” said Merkley.
Merkley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said Russia’s war in Ukraine and its impact on oil and gas prices should hasten moves toward more renewable energy. Wyden has introduced a measure creating a $50 million grant program to foster more domestic development of minerals used in solar panels, windmills, electric cars and batteries and smart phones.
The aim is reduce reliance on critical minerals from Russia, China and other unfriendly actors
“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has provided a stark reminder of the urgent need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and gas imports from countries ruled by tyrants like Vladimir Putin,” Wyden said in a release. “It’s past time the United States became a competitive producer of critical minerals and weans itself off of both foreign oil and gas imports and the critical minerals that are essential to building the next generation of clean energy products like batteries. This legislation would fuel red, white and blue clean energy while creating good-paying jobs on American soil.”