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Gas Prices Reach New Highs in US in Wake of Ukraine War

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Credit: Minesweeper/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The average price of gas in the US passed $4 this weekend, making it the first time gas prices had reached such heights since 2008.

The war in Ukraine has fueled the price jump, as Russia is currently the third-largest oil producer in the world.

The country contributes over 10% of the global supply of oil, but many countries are looking to lessen their dependency on Russian oil in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Gas prices spike in US after Russia invades Ukraine

The US itself is looking to completely ban oil imports from Russia. The “Banning Russian Energy Imports Act,” which was introduced last week, already has widespread support.

The bill, if passed, would ban Russian petroleum and petroleum products such as crude oil and coal.

Although the US produces the largest amount of oil in the world, the country consumes much more than it produces, so it relies on foreign imports from countries around the world like Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Less than 10% of the oil the US imports comes from Russia, an amount that may seem insignificant; however it is equivalent to hundreds of thousands of Russian oil barrels coming into the US each day.

Even though the bill has not passed yet, and no sanctions have been placed on Russian oil, gas prices have already risen in the weeks since the war began.

The nationwide average price per gallon of gas has reached $4. In California, where gas prices are traditionally highest, the average price spent at the pump per gallon is over $5.

The highest-ever average price of gas previously in the US was $4.10, which was set in July 2008.

“This is a milestone that was hard to imagine happening so quickly, but with bipartisan support of severe sanctions on Russia, is not exactly surprising — it is the cost of choking off Russia from energy revenue,” noted Patrick De Haan, a petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, a site that tracks fuel prices across the US.

The price increase was compounded by the fact that gas prices tend to spike a bit this time of year anyway, De Haan argues.

“As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues to evolve and we head into a season where gas prices typically increase, Americans should prepare to pay more for gas than they ever have before. Shopping and paying smart at the pump will be critical well into Summer,” he said.

Countries race to reduce dependence on Russian oil

Countries across Europe, which rely more heavily on Russian oil, have rushed to find ways to distance themselves from Russian fuel imports.

Greece is in a race to reduce energy dependence on Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last Tuesday.

Speaking in Parliament, Mitsotakis stated: “We cannot rule out attempts by Russia to blackmail. We all realize this… will disrupt global supplies and probably trigger a further rise in (energy) prices.”

As Greece imported 33% of its gas supplies from Russia in January, Athens called on the EU to support member-states and businesses against a further rise in energy costs.

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