On March 8, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal to the United States. This is a significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will target “the main artery of Russia’s economy.”
“We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” Biden said in a speech from the White House. “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
The White House said the action also bans new U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector and prohibits Americans from participating in foreign investments that flow into that sector in Russia.
Last year, the U.S. imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia, and the E.O. will deprive Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from U.S. drivers and consumers annually.
“This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be costs here as well in the United States … When I first spoke to this I said defending freedom is going to cost; it’s going to cost us, as well, in the United States. Republicans and Democrats alike understand that. Republicans and Democrats alike have been clear that we must do this,” Biden said.
Gas prices have increased as a result of the war, and will continue to increase with the E.O. Biden spoke directly to oil and gas companies and their backing finance firms in his speech when he encouraged not to implement excessive price increases. He said that this is not a time for profiteering or price gouging. Immediately following, he acknowledged the oil and gas companies who are pulling out of Russia.
“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” Biden said. “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”
The fuel industry in the U.S. and abroad should expect time devoted to replacing Russian imports and producing domestic oil. The White House said Russian oil accounts for just under 10% of overall oil imports in the U.S., whereas it accounts for a third of imports in Europe.
Biden emphasizes the importance of energy independence. Biden said that the U.S. is a net exporter of energy and that it produces far more oil domestically than in all of Europe. He notes that while others may not be able to take the same step as the U.S., “we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long-term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”
The White House stated that in the long run, the way to avoid high gas prices is to speed up — not slow down — the transition to a clean energy future. U.S. domestic production is expected to hit record highs next year, yet Biden maintains that reducing dependence on fossil fuels, a shared goal with the U.S.’s European allies, is the long-term solution.