GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gas prices have been on the rise in the U.S. since Russia attacked Ukraine over a week ago. But why are these attacks across the globe making impacts here at home?
“All of it is really tied back to Russia being the second largest oil producer globally,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
He said the country produces about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is only about 1.5 million less than the United States.
Russia’s oil fuels countries across the world. With the U.S. and European Union slapping sanctions on Russia, those countries are not receiving Russian crude oil. This means they must look elsewhere, causing high demand an oil supplies to dry up.
This pushes oil prices up significantly, said De Haan.
If he were in the Biden administration, De Haan said he would try several options to try and lower gas prices here in the U.S.
“I probably would increase the output from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, potentially releasing 50 to 100 million additional barrels,” De Haan said.
He also suggested waiving Reid Vapor Pressure regulations, “allowing winter gasoline to continue being sold throughout the summer months.”
Normally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates the vapor pressure of gas at the pumps during summer ozone season “to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems,” according to the EPA.
“Those two factors hopefully could reduce prices by anywhere from 20 to 45 cents a gallon,” De Haan said.
He also suggested the U.S. consider getting back to the nuclear table to talk with Iran in order to finish the deal which would allow some of Iran’s crude oil back on the market to offset the loss of Russia’s oil.
As far as the near future, De Haan expects that we are on the road to $4 a gallon within the next few weeks, signaling high prices for spring break and the start of road trip season.
“I’m hopeful that we won’t hit those record prices, which, by the way, were $4.29 a gallon back in 2012. But at this point, it’s kind of a 50/50-coin toss on whether we’ll get there.”