Kamala Harris Says Russia Ukraine Crisis Might Raise US Gas Prices
Vice President Kamala Harris over the weekend acknowledged that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could cause U.S. gas prices to rise further.
Her comments came during an extended diplomatic visit to the Munich Security Conference in Germany. During her visit, Harris pressed the notion to American allies that the threat posed by Russia’s plans for Ukraine is dire and called for a unified response should the invasion go forward.
Harris on Sunday told the press that the fallout of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions would almost certainly see energy costs, including gas prices, rise for U.S. consumers.
“When America stands for principles, and all of the things that we hold dear, it requires sometimes for us to put ourselves out there in a way that maybe we will incur some cost,” Harris explained. “In this situation, that may relate to energy costs.”
Petroleum industry analysts have already predicted that U.S. gas prices will keep rising in 2022, potentially peaking over the Memorial Day weekend. Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy told a local NBC affiliate that prices in California’s Bay Area, which already boasts one of the highest averages in the country, could soar to around $6 a gallon by the end of May.
“It’s nearly guaranteed that a Ukraine invasion, combined with other seasonal factors, would boost California and the Bay Area to over $5 a gallon,” DeHaan explained. “We could see prices go halfway to $6 a gallon by the time Memorial Day rolls around if Russia does invade Ukraine.”
The vice president also said that the U.S. government is taking “specific and appropriate steps” to prepare for the potential economic costs of an invasion.
Earlier in her visit, Harris reiterated President Joe Biden‘s recent statement that, according to U.S. intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made the decision to invade Ukraine, despite Putin denying any such plans. Biden has pledged to swiftly impose severe economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion and has called on allies to do so as well.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday called on allies to impose such sanctions before a potential invasion and questioned the point of taking action after an invasion. Harris responded to his concern, assuring that the sanctions would act as a deterrent against Putin.
The U.S. has already made $1 billion in guaranteed loans available to Ukraine, according to Reuters, and provided the country with $650 million in defense equipment and other services over the past year. Harris added over the weekend that the U.S. would be reconsidering the aid it is providing to Ukraine in light of the tensions with Russia.
Biden on Tuesday made similar comments warning Americans about rising gas prices.
“I will not pretend this will be painless,” he said during a press conference. “We’re preparing to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump.”
“We demonstrated weakness with respect to the Russians for the entire 14 months of this administration,” he said during an appearance on Fox News. “And then we did the worst thing. We shut down American natural gas and crude oil production—giving Vladimir Putin $93 or $100 a barrel on the crude oil from his country…We put his economy on super warp and we harmed ours and lost jobs here at home.”