President Joe Biden announced the United States would target ‘the main artery of Russia’s economy’ on Tuesday with a ban on energy imports from Moscow.
It follows relentless pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, though the move could send gas prices even higher than the record $4.17 a gallon reported today.
Calls to add a block on energy to the sweeping economic sanctions on the Kremlin and oligarchs have mounted since late last month when Russia’s authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin ordered an unprovoked and bloody invasion of Ukraine.
European allies, which rely far more on the Kremlin’s energy exports, are reportedly not joining the ban but were consulted by US officials, Bloomberg first reported.
The European Union is aiming to cut its reliance on Russian gas by nearly 80 percent by the end of this year and the United Kingdom is expected to ban Russian oil.
The United Kingdom’s ban on Russian oil imports will be phased-in gradually to avoid panic-buying. Politico reports that the blockade will not be extended to natural gas but the measure is still being discussed at Whitehall.
It comes as Putin threatened to shut down Russia’s gas pipeline to Europe in response to a boycott on his country’s energy exports — which could push the price of crude oil to a staggering $300 a barrel.
Prices already shot up to a rate not seen since 2008 on Monday, reaching $140 per barrel.
The American Automobile Association’s (AAA) Chicago branch put out a warning about a ‘tightened supply’ of gas and outlined how Americans can ‘conserve’ their fuel as the market braces for another surge.
Biden’s expected announcement comes as desperate Ukrainians have forced to flee their homes in freezing temperatures while being bombed, shot at and chased. Temperatures in Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s two largest cities that have seen intense shelling, are set to fall to 14F on Tuesday night and will bring bitter conditions to civilians trying to stay warm and Putin’s soldiers trying to turn around his stalled invasion.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has resisted questions about whether the administration would ban Russian energy imports since the start of the invasion while Biden has warned that Putin’s invasion would likely come at a cost to Americans.
The Democratic administration has also come under bipartisan criticism for looking at authoritarian countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and even Iran as possible new sources to fill the 3.5 percent of crude oil exports the US gets from Russia.
US oil and gas companies are also pledging to help alleviate the strain. Exxon Mobil and Chevron, two of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers, said this week that they would ramp up crude oil production at sites in Texas and New Mexico, Politico reported.
President Joe Biden announced the US would target ‘the main artery of Russia’s economy’ with a full ban on energy imports from Russia on Tuesday
Above shows a chart for US crude oil imports, which excludes other petroleum products
US imports of Russian crude oil exploded 162% from 2020 to 2021
Russian crude oil, however, accounted for only around 3% of the US’s crude oil imports
The West coast and Gulf coast import the most Russian oil per day
Prices at the gas pump have reached a record high on Tuesday, hours before Biden is expected to announce a ban on Russian energy imports
The AAA wrote on Twitter Monday, ‘The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, coupled with already high-demand and a tightened supply are pushing prices much higher at the pump. Here are some ways you can conserve on fuel.’
It was followed by a series of tips urging drivers to: combine errands, use their ‘more fuel-efficient vehicle,’ remove unnecessary or bulky items from the car and ‘fill up when you have a quarter tank of fuel remaining.’
Meanwhile prices at the pump have reached a nationwide average of $4.17, the highest ever recorded by AAA. The average gas price in California is a record-high $5.44, up from the previous all-time high of $5.34 that was reached on Monday.
With gas prices at their highest in history, experts explain how YOU can save on gas
As fuel prices continue to surge during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, groups including the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Gas Buddy have released advice on how drivers can lighten the impact on their pockets.
DailyMail.com has rounded up some of the tips they include.
Avoid high speeds: Driving at 62 mph instead of 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent. Higher speeds increase drag.
Do not accelerate or break hard: Anticipating when to stop may improve fuel economy by 20%.
Use air conditioning sparingly to avoid an extra load on the engine.
Keep tires properly inflated.
Keep the windows closed to reduce drag.
Service your car regularly.
Avoid idling during winter to warm up the car.
Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel.
Avoid heavy loads, such as putting sandbags or large equipment or machinery in the trunk.
Former President Donald Trump released a furious all-caps statement just an hour after reports of the expected Russian oil ban broke.
‘BREAKING NEWS: HIGHEST GAS PRICES IN HISTORY! DO YOU MISS ME YET?’ Trump said in a statement through his Save America PAC.
But the US relies far less on Russian energy imports than Europe does.
Only about 7 percent of American liquid fuel imports were from Russia in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
But the US’ dependence on Russian crude oil and petroleum products significantly increased during Biden’s first year in office. Imports of Moscow’s crude oil alone surged 162 percent. In 2020, the US imported 28 million barrels of Russian crude oil. Now that number is up to 73 million barrels.
However, the Energy Information Agency’s data show it still only accounts for about 3.5 percent of total US crude imports last year.
By contrast sixty percent of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe, accounting for about a third of the continent’s oil demand.
Russia is the third largest exporter of crude oil and petroleum products to the US. America gets most of its oil and petroleum imports first from Canada, 51.3 percent.
US officials appear to be looking for alternative energy sellers to make up for the modest gap left by the expected Russian ban.
An American delegation to Venezuela over the weekend saw some success when its President Nicolas Maduro said Monday that he would be open to further talks. It’s the first high-profile meeting of government officials between the US and oil-rich, authoritarian Venezuela in years.
It was also reported recently that Biden may travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss the global oil supply, after vowing on the campaign trail to make the nation a ‘pariah’ state over its killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi.
The push for a nationwide ban on Russian energy imports has gained traction since accounts and images of Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine explode around the world.
More than seven in 10 Americans have said they would support a ban on Russian oil even if it meant higher gas prices, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday.
The survey, taken March 4 through March 6, shows 71 percent of total respondents including a bipartisan majority would ban Biden’s ban. Of Republican voters, 66 percent said they would support it, and 82 percent of Democrats said they would as well.
Just 22 percent said they would be opposed.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that Biden’s expected ban is ‘great’ but ‘late’ on the twelfth day of Putin’s invasion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was ‘all for’ banning Russian oil imports. Congress is also set to pass a $10 billion aid package for Ukraine this week.
Lawmakers in both the Senate and House have put forward a slew of legislation on such bans. Late last week a bipartisan group of senators put forward their own bill to ban Russian energy imports, which Congress is meant to fast-track.
An elderly woman placed in a shopping cart is carried over a destroyed bridge as she is evacuated from the city of Irpin,
The US has been under pressure to ban Russian energy imports since Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers help an elderly woman to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 8
The search for a new oil source is also putting renewed attention on the Iran nuclear deal talks, with the possibility of putting Tehran’s oil back on the market.
However Republicans have been pushing for Biden to ramp up domestic energy production, as the president comes under bipartisan criticism for looking to authoritarian governments — who in some cases, are aligned with Russia — to fill American oil needs.
Shell says sorry for buying cut price oil from Russia after they invaded Ukraine and will now shut down its service stations in Putin’s country
The boss of Shell has said he is ‘sorry’ for buying a shipment of Russian oil last week even as dozens of major international companies announced they would abandon the country over its war in Ukraine.
The business bought the oil last week at knock-down prices, as sanctions began to bite on the Russian economy.
‘We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel – despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking – was not the right one and we are sorry,’ said chief executive Ben van Beurden.
The company said it would immediately stop buying Russian crude oil on the spot market and will shut service stations, aviation fuel and lubricants operations in Russia.
Profits from the remaining Russian gas that Shell will process will be sent to a fund and the business will work with humanitarian organisations to figure out how best to spend the money.bipartisan criticism for looking to authoritarian governments — who in some cases, are aligned with Russia — to fill American oil needs.
‘We shouldn’t be advancing other countries who don’t share our values,’ Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester said, according to CNN.
Graham said buying oil from somewhere like Venezuela or Iran was ‘insanity.’
‘If we seek to replace Russian oil by buying more oil from Venezuela and Iran, that would be the height of insanity,’ Graham wrote on Twitter Tuesday. ‘Trying to cut off oil dependency from a war criminal like Putin by replacing it with oil from a religious Nazi like the Ayatollah is stupid, dangerous, and tells you how much the Biden Administration is controlled by the radical Left.’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on Biden to increase output from the Lone Star state instead.
‘What happened to energy independence? Texas can do it,’ Abbott wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
The Permian basin, a vast oil and natural gas producing area covering parts of Texas and New Mexico, will see more crude pumped by Chevron and Exxon Mobil. The plan was announced last year but has gained fresh urgency since Russia’s invasion.
West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin also called on Biden to ramp up US energy production, even in areas that had previously been shut.
‘Any oil thats needed to our allies around the world, we do that cleaner than anybody,’ Manchin said on CNN.
Former Vice President Mike Pence demanded Biden ‘unleash American energy’ and mocked him for sending a delegation to Venezuela during an interview on Fox News on Tuesday morning.
‘The answer here is, number one, stand firm as the United States and have the free world join us, in cutting off funds to Russia in their energy exports. We need to put those sanctions on. But at the same moment, President Biden and this administration must unleash American energy and stop going hat-in-hand to places like Venezuela,’ Pence said.
Some Republicans have been demanding Biden reopen the shut-down Keystone XL Pipeline — which the president’s allies and climate experts have said would have minimal effect solving the crisis but would gravely harm the environment.
Last week South Carolina GOP Senator Tim Scott told Fox News in an interview that Biden’s decision to revoke the pipeline’s permit was ‘catastrophic.’
‘The prices we’re seeing today are reflective of his decisions a year ago, not reflective of the conflict that started days ago,’ Scott said.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, also floated as a possible 2024 GOP nominee, told the same outlet after Putin’s launched his attack that Biden gave him ‘all the power’ to do so by ending the pipeline.
Just 7% of America’s imported oil is Russian, so why is Biden choosing ‘terrorists over Texans’? Experts say ban wouldn’t impact supply and US wells or Canada could plug the gap instead of ‘funding Putin’s war chest’
Where does the US get its oil?
Russia is the third largest exporter of crude oil and petroleum products to the U.S. America gets most of its oil and petroleum imports first from Canada, 51.3 percent.
Following Canada is Mexico, 8.4 percent, then Russia, 7.9 percent, then Saudi Arabia, 5.1 percent, according to 2021 statistics from the Energy Information Agency.
Imports for crude oil, used to make gasoline, were an even smaller share – Russia provided the U.S. with 3.5 percent of its crude oil imports. The U.S. gets 61% of its crude oil imports from Canada.
How much have Russian oil imports increased under the Biden administration?
The U.S. increased its share of Russian crude oil and petroleum products significantly during President Biden’s first year in office. ‘When you look at total imports of Russian crude oil and petroleum products last year they jumped 24 percent to a record 245 million barrels,’ global energy analyst Stephen Schork told DailyMail.com in an interview.
‘That massive infusion of petrol dollars into Putin’s war chest has helped fund his misadventures in Ukraine.’
Imports of crude oil alone surged 162 percent. In 2020, the U.S. imported 28 million barrels of Russian crude oil. Now that number is up to 73 million barrels.
The U.S. as of 2021 got about 209,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Russia. It gets another 500,000 barrels per day of other petroleum products.
Schork said that the U.S. increasingly relies on Russian oil because the Biden administration has shown hostility to the oil and gas industry.
‘The White House has declared war on oil and gas industry, made it clear they’re gunning for industry. The oil industry has taken its cue.’
‘The Biden administration has made it well clear they’re steering dollars away fossil fuel investment given it to windmills. They’re not giving any sort of signal to the industry to yes, please increase domestic production. The message is no, renewables are the answer and in the meantime over next 10, 20 years were still going to be importing Russian oil, Venezuelan oil,’ he said.
In 2020, the US underwent a historic shift, becoming a net exporter of petroleum products. In 2021, it shifted back to being a net importer of petroleum products.
What would the effect be on price?
The effect would largely depend on whether the U.S. went forward with sanctions unilaterally or in lockstep with its allies.
Experts largely agree that the U.S. could make up for a Russian oil ban without massive disruptions or price increases, but Europe may have a harder time following suit.
‘The whole idea that this is inflationary is completely overstated,’ said Bill Snape, who with the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition to ban Russian fossil fuels. ‘We get 50, 60 percent from Canada, that would be a different story.’
But the U.S. has so far put on a united front with NATO allies, pursuing sanctions at the same time to further isolate Putin.
Sixty percent of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe, accounting for about a third of Europe’s oil demand.
‘That’s why the markets reacted so strongly to that was not the suggestion that the us wold find some other oil sources because they could do that but more because this might be the first step towards comprehensive oil sanction on Russia,’ Professor David Coleman, who teaches Oil and Gas Law at Southern Methodist University, told DailyMail.com.
‘It would be a mostly symbolic step if the US banned Russian oil. If Europe follows suit it would have a huge effect,’ he said.
On Sunday Sec. of State Antony Blinken implied that he was working with European leaders on a potential ban of Russian oil, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz threw cold water on the idea Monday morning.
‘We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries while, of course, at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil,’ Blinken said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Scholz then said he would not support the ban, calling Russian oil ‘essential’ to Europe’s economy.
Russian crude oil imports have also increased since 2019 when the U.S. cut domestic relations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime and imposed sanctions on the nation, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) trade association.
A ban on Russian gas would be even harder to implement for the Europeans, who rely on Moscow for 40 percent of their natural gas needs. Unlike crude oil and petroleum, natural gas must be transported through pipelines, and it could take Europe years to build the infrastructure needed to get proper supplies of natural gas from other places. Many liquified natural gas terminals that receive deliveries from the U.S. and Qatar are already maxed out.
How much are Russian fuel sales financing the war?
Russia is taking in a whopping $1 billion per day for the oil and gas products it sells to the West each day. It currently sells around 5 million barrels of oil every day, where prices are increasing rapidly. Total revenues for crude oil and refined products amount to about $700 million per day.
Where could the U.S. get its oil without Russia?
Republicans have for weeks called on the Biden administration to encourage more more oil production within the U.S.
In 2019 the U.S. was the largest crude oil producer in the world, pumping out 13 million barrels per day. Now the nations pumps about 11.5 million barrels per day.
And while the U.S. imports crude oil from around the world, it is still exporting millions of barrels per day. ‘Perhaps we would export a little less oil and hold onto the oil,’ proffered Snape.
But one hindrance on keeping oil at home is the 1920 Jones Act. The protectionist law says that ships carrying goods between U.S. ports must be built, crewed and owned by Americans, putting US-made products at a disadvantage against foreign competitors which can use market-rate shipping.
The U.S. could also turn to Canada or Latin America to pump up exports. Over the weekend the Biden administration sent a delegation to Venezuela, a close ally of Russia, to meet with the Maduro administration, seeking to rebuild diplomatic relations and plead for more oil.
Schork called the idea that Venezuela could pump more oil ‘a joke,’ and said the Biden administration should focus on being less hostile to domestic production.
‘The Venezuelan oil industry is a shell of itself due to 20 years of Hugo Chavez’s socialism. Even if Venezuelan production was up, Maduro is in bed with Putin. So we are going to Iran which is a state sponsor of terrorism. We’d rather negotiate with terrorists than Texans.’
Sen. Marco Rubio agreed, writing on Twitter: ‘Joe Biden using #Russia as an excuse to do the deal they always wanted to do anyway with the #MaduroRegime… Rather than produce more American oil he wants to replace the oil we buy from one murderous dictator with oil from another murderous dictator.’
The U.S. is also nearing agreement on a new nuclear deal with Iran that could lift sanctions and return Iranian oil to market.
Biden is also reportedly eyeing up a trip to Saudi Arabia after OPEC nations have for months rebuffed his requests to pump more oil. Biden during the campaign trail promised to make Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ and blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The U.S.’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve held 588 million barrels as of the end of January, according to the Energy Department, and Biden last week released 30 million barrels from the reserve in an agreement with European countries that together would release a total of 60 million barrels.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel
hartford car insurance shop car insurance best car insurance quotes best online car insurance get auto insurance quotes auto insurance quotes most affordable car insurance car insurance providers car insurance best deals best insurance quotes get car insurance online best comprehensive car insurance best cheap auto insurance auto policy switching car insurance car insurance quotes auto insurance best affordable car insurance online auto insurance quotes az auto insurance commercial auto insurance instant car insurance buy car insurance online best auto insurance companies best car insurance policy best auto insurance vehicle insurance quotes aaa insurance quote auto and home insurance quotes car insurance search best and cheapest car insurance best price car insurance best vehicle insurance aaa car insurance quote find cheap car insurance new car insurance quote auto insurance companies get car insurance quotes best cheap car insurance car insurance policy online new car insurance policy get car insurance car insurance company best cheap insurance car insurance online quote car insurance finder comprehensive insurance quote car insurance quotes near me get insurance