By Stephanie Liebergen
President Joe Biden’s decision to ban Russian oil and gas imports has reignited debate among lawmakers about what the country’s energy future should look like.
“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,” said President Joe Biden.
It’s going to take some time to implement the new ban, but once it’s in effect, there will be a gap in the country’s energy needs. Democrats and Republicans differ on how the country should close that gap.
Republicans say the solution is increasing energy production at home.
“We’re certainly calling on the administration not just to ban Russian oil, but to come and truly have an energy strategy that’s, all of the above, an American energy strategy,” said Rep. Garret Graves.
But even the American Petroleum Institute says that’s not something that can happen overnight.
“I think one thing that’s misunderstood is the sense that we can just flip a switch and produce energy right away. The energy that we produce here in the United States, is capital intensive to be able to produce,” said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president for policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute.
Democrats and President Biden would like to see the U.S. focus on increasing renewable energy options.
“But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles powered by clean energy, tax credits to help American families winterize their homes and use less energy, that will, that will help,” said President Biden.
Either way, those changes will take months or years to go into effect. And neither one would completely insulate America from the instability of the global gas market.
“As long as the vast majority of our transportation needs are going to be met by gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, consumers in the US are just going to be exposed to the risks of these kinds of shocks that seem to come up every several years, every several years or so,” said Ryan Kellogg, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago.
In the short term, there’s not much Congress or the president can do to shield Americans from even higher prices at the pump. Kellogg says the way to insulate America from the instability of the global gas market is to stop relying on so much oil, gasoline and diesel.