The U.S. will stop importing Russian energy, President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
“Today I am announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” Biden said 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.”
Oil, natural gas, and coal imports from Russia are not a big portion of the U.S. energy import mix. They made up roughly 8% in 2021, 3% of which was crude oil. But the move will still increase already record gas prices. To offset Russian imports, the Biden administration has spoken with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iran — all with their own complicated political relationships with the U.S. — about potential increased production.
Biden’s announcement makes official a boycott of Russian energy that has been in place in practice since late February when imports dropped to zero, according to Department of Energy figures.
European allies of the U.S. are more reliant on Russian energy — Europe gets about 30% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas from Russia — so it will be more difficult to halt imports, though Germany did suspend the Nord Stream 2 pipeline just ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The strength of our sanctions, of the costs we’re imposing on Putin for this brutal invasion of Ukraine are more successful and more sustainable when they’re coordinated,” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons told CNN on Tuesday. “So, I respect the fact that the administration is coordinating with our European allies and making sure that we have done the groundwork to understand how to effectively implement a ban on Russian energy.”
While Americans overwhelmingly support cutting business ties with Russia, that won’t stop the grumbling over what we’re paying at the pump.