Gasoline prices jumped to record highs, as crude oil spiked on expectations President Joe Biden will put a halt to oil imports from Russia, the world's largest oil exporter.
A gallon of regular gas jumped more than a dime from yesterday to $4.17, according to AAA's gas price page. California gas hit $5.44 a gallon. The national average reported by GasBuddy is the highest price ever recorded, beating 2008's previous record of $4.10 per gallon. Crude oil jumped more than 4%, to $128 per barrel.
The ban on Russian imports, as punishment for the country's attack on Ukraine, is expected to be announced today, the Wall Street Journal said, citing sources familiar. The White House declined to comment to the WSJ. The ban is coming after pressure from Democrats and Republicans to take action, and after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implored the West to halt the source of Russian income.
Russia produces about 10% of the world's oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Most of its exports go to Europe.
European nations aren't expected to ban imports, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday rejected efforts to ban imports, saying Russian oil is required to meet the country's energy needs.
In an effort to allay supply issues, the Department of Energy announced the U.S. would release 30 million barrels of crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserve. Other members of the IEA also committed to releasing 30 million barrels, collectively.
Trade Deficit Widens
The gap between U.S. imports and exports widened again in January, as the pandemic continued to reverberate throughout the global economy. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit increased $24.6 billion, or 37.7%, from January 2021, the highest increase ever recorded.
"The global pandemic and the economic recovery continued to impact international trade in January," the Department's statement read.
Exports fell 1.7% to $224.4 billion while imports rose 1.2% to $314.1 billion.