Can the U.S. Meet Fossil Fuel Needs After President Biden’s Russian Oil Ban?

by Suzanne Halliburton
Citizen of the Planet/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

An economic advisor to President Biden said the United States will be able to meet its fossil fuel needs, in spite of the Russian oil ban.

Heather Boushey told Axios that while Russia is an “important oil and gas producer,” the same can be said for this country.

Russian Oil Ban At a Glance

  • One economic advisor said US is capable of making up for Russian oil imports. This country imported about 8 percent of its petroleum products from Russian in 2021.
  • Meanwhile, oil and gas prices dropped, Wednesday, a day after Biden announced Russian oil ban.
  • Companies and countries already had stopped trading with Russia.

The United States, she said, “also (is) a significant producer of oil and gas, and we have the capacity to meet our own fossil fuel needs.”

Russia has provided some oil and petroleum products to the United States. But it’s a smaller amount in comparison to others. In 2021, the United States imported about 672,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Russia. That’s according to data supplied by the Energy Information Agency. That total accounted for roughly eight percent of all US imports.

But even before Biden announced the Russian oil ban, few countries or private companies were buying the product. There were too many concerns about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and impending worldwide sanctions.

How High Can Prices Go After Russian Oil Ban?

It’s not clear how much higher prices can go now with the Russian oil ban in place. Gas prices hit a record high on Tuesday, hitting an average of $4.173 per gallon. That price came the same day as Biden’s announcement.

However, on Wednesday, a day after the Russian oil ban was announced, the markets responded by dropping the price of oil and gas. A barrel of West Texas crude, the benchmark price for the United States, was trading at about $108. Meanwhile, Brent Crude was trading at about $110. Both prices dropped by double digits from yesterday’s records. But again, oil prices are volatile.

Boushey also pushed renewable energy during her interview with Axios.

“Even as we, in the short term, deal with these price changes, we have to make sure that we get that kind of clean energy independence,” Boushey said. “Because that’s going to create real economic security for families in the decades to come.”

Still, gas prices aren’t expected to come down for months. Demand is high, but refinery production, even in the United States, still isn’t back to pre-pandemic levels. Take the Russian oil off the market, and it all makes for extreme pricing.

The United States exports more oil than it imports. In 2021, the US exported an average of 8.63 million barrels a day and imported 8.47 million.

Experts from GasBuddy, which tracks the prices of gasoline across the country, predict that prices won’t peak until May. Average prices may not drop below $4 a gallon until Thanksgiving.

“It’s a dire situation,” stated GasBuddy‘s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick De Haan, “and it won’t improve any time soon.”