Why Are Oil and Gas Prices Rising?

Shiv Muthupandiyan

The best part of owning your own car is buying gas. You get to spend $40, $50, $60 and, in return, you get to play the “guess the number of gallons” game. The only thing that can rival the anxiety of watching the gallons get close to your guess is watching oil prices rise. With the current events in Ukraine, this annoyance of getting gas is becoming more and more of a struggle. 

But why are gas prices rising? Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine is the biggest refugee and humanitarian crisis since WWII. After thousands of casualties and millions of people displaced, the US  decided to take action. 

While a direct military response could provoke escalation, economic sanctions have less of a risk. Thus, Biden has placed severe sanctions on Russia, and has banned the import of Russian oil. 

These sanctions have found some success as Russian GDP has fallen by almost 35%, Western businesses have pulled out of Russia, industries have been disrupted, and their financial system is in ruins. While it is far from a complete ban on Russian energy exports, the supply of oil has been significantly reduced.

When you eliminate most exports from the second largest oil exporter in the world that supplies 10 million barrels a day, that may just have some impacts on the price. This invasion has further strained an already tight oil market, further reducing supply and further limiting oil growth. 

What has been done about it? In order to try to reduce the burden on ordinary Americans, the Biden administration has released a million barrels of oil a day. This has injected more oil into the economy and helped lower prices. In addition, Biden has allowed the sale of E15 oil, oil mixed with 15 percent ethanol, to further increase the supply and decrease price of oil. 

This could have some negative environmental effects. In fact, critics argue that the current state of oil prices and the volatility of the fossil fuel market is exactly why we need to be transitioning to renewable energy. Rather than doubling down on fossil fuels, we could be increasing our efforts to go green, though perhaps at the cost of higher prices at the pump. 

There is no easy solution to protect the interests of ordinary people, the environment, and big corporations. So, for the foreseeable future, the prices of oil will get higher and higher. And while it may add stress to people at the pump, at least it makes guessing the price that much easier.