President Biden Bans Russian Oil Imports

Ava Stuzin, Multimedia Photo Editor

On Mar. 8, 2022, President Biden ordered a ban on Russian oil in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, sending U.S. gasoline prices to record levels.

The ban also applies to U.S. imports of Russian liquefied gas products made from oil and coal, and is set to be effective immediately. However, U.S. consumers with existing contracts for Russia are being allowed 45 days to wind down deliveries.

Biden’s decision effectively cuts off the small flow of oil into the U.S. from Russia. The U.S. imported more than 20.4 million barrels of crude and refined products from Russia in 2021, just under 10% of U.S. liquid fuel imports, according to the Energy Information Administration. The ban is expected to send already high gasoline prices and inflation soaring. 

Retail gasoline prices have already surged by more than 30% since the invasion started in late February. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. hit a record of $4.17, rising by 10 cents in one day and 55 cents in one week.

The U.S. is imposing the ban without most of its European allies, which are more dependent on Russian energy supplies. The U.S. imports about 700,000 barrels per day from Russia, while European nations import about 4.5 million barrels per day, roughly one-third of its total imports.  

Great Britain joined the U.S. in taking action, announcing it would cut out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022, giving its markets and businesses more than enough time to find alternatives to the imports. Unlike other European nations, Great Britain is not a major importer of Russian energy, with only 8.3% of Great Britain’s oil imports coming from Russia.