Gasoline prices hit record highs

Car+at+a+Gas+Station

Car at a Gas Station

To most people, transportation by vehicle is a daily routine – a necessity, in fact, to the 227.8 million licensed drivers in the U.S. However, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. gas prices have shot up, ranging from four to six dollars per gallon, depending on the state. 

On March 8th, 2022, President Biden announced the suspension of oil imports from Russia with the intent of dealing a financial blow to Russia; the suspension was implemented as a form of retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy,” Biden informed reporters and journalists at the White House. “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine.” The ban forbids all new U.S. investments in energy imported from Russia, as well as prohibiting investments in the Russian energy sector among Americans. Additionally, Russia – a major producer of oil and natural gas to many – has experienced import bans from various Western countries. Europe’s economy being heavily reliant on Russia’s oil, giving them an even larger endeavor to isolate Putin and the Russian energy economy. President Biden and European allies had been collaborating on possible solutions in retaliation. Preliminary to Biden’s statement on the ban, Britain announced that Russian oil would be phased out by “the end of 2022.” Although Russia exports little oil to the United States, U.S. consumers have still felt some economic pain in the past month, with some states feeling more of the burn than others. This is especially true for California, with gas prices lingering around 6 dollars; but most recently, gas expenses per gallon have been around 5 dollars or more. President Biden acknowledged the detrimental economic effects saying, “I will not pretend this will be painless,” in a February press briefing prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden recognized the massive rise in gas costs and warned U.S. companies to not use this time as a period of profiteering or taking advantage of the situation. “The decision today is not without costs here at home. Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump … I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hikes here at home,” Biden said, “Russia’s aggression is costing us all. It is not time for profiteering.” 

Economic analysts anticipate the inflated prices to be momentary. Inflation has also become a playing factor in these rising expenses as the concern has been present for years, even existing before the Russian invasion. Despite the fact that gas expenses are minimal in consumer spending, these recording-hitting prices could influence future prices and altogether change the way the American economy is viewed.