Brent crude oil surpassed $110 per barrel on Wednesday, the highest level since early July 2014, raising concerns that petrol and diesel prices will continue to rise and exacerbate the actual price squeeze. US lawmakers are pressuring President Biden to target Russia’s energy sector, which his administration has avoided due to price increases.
A bipartisan push for the US to stop importing oil from Russia is gaining steam with the introduction of two bills amid Moscow’s bloody attack on Ukraine. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of nine Republicans introduced legislation to prohibit Russian oil imports, as did Green New Deal champion Sen. Ed Markey.
Both agreed that the United States should stop importing Russian oil, but Republicans are pushing for domestic drilling, while Markey advocates for a clean energy shift. The Markey bill and a separate Republican version led by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) would make it illegal to import Russian oil, The Hill posted.
Traders push to ban Russian oil
Even though the White House has stated that oil sales are not the target of restrictions, US traders in the country’s leading oil hubs have carefully halted imports from Russian companies.
The traders’ reaction indicates that sanctions have interrupted energy markets more than anticipated in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Crude futures have risen above $100 per barrel, even though the United States and its NATO allies have not yet blocked Russian oil sales, fearing that they will feed inflation.
According to Reuters, the administration of President Joe Biden has asserted that if Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine, it may block Russian oil. However, some lawmakers from both major political parties in the United States are pushing for an outright ban on Russian imports, but cutting off that supply could cause U.S. gasoline prices to skyrocket if Russia continues to sell oil to China or other countries.