(NewsReady.com) – The US could be facing a gasoline shortage this summer, as rising demand and an EU ban on Russian oil imports combine to eat away at available supplies. US reserves are already low, and could fail to keep up if imports are cut. Any shortage is likely to mean gas prices surging again, dragging inflation back up in their wake.
New York Gasoline Shortage Brews on Fallout From EU’s Russia Ban
Europe likely to have less spare supply for US driving season
— Giovanni Staunovo🛢 (@staunovo) January 30, 2023
On January 31, Bloomberg reported that US gasoline stockpiles are at their lowest in a decade, and set to fall further. Even though we’re one of the world’s largest oil producers, a combination of factors could mean shortages at the pump — and higher prices for American drivers. According to Bloomberg, US oil refineries are undergoing “heavy” winter maintenance, cutting gasoline production. While America is a net exporter of gas, most of it is produced on the Gulf coast. For the East Coast, it’s actually easier to import gas from Europe than move it up from the Gulf, because existing pipelines don’t have the capacity to meet demand and the Biden Administration opposes building new ones.
Now, European supplies are threatened. The EU has pushed through a ban on imports of Russian crude oil, which takes effect this month. Without supplies from Russia, the EU will barely be able to meet its own demand for gas; it won’t have any surplus to send to the US. Bloomberg warns that this could be bad news for the East Coast, with European imports tailing off just as summer arrives and Americans start driving more.
Not all experts agree; Andrew Gross of the AAA said it’s not a good idea to try predicting how the gas market will look in a few months. However, even he admitted that the supply could “grow tight” in some regions. If it does, gas prices could soon be back to last year’s highs. They’ve already risen around 40 cents a gallon since Christmas, to an average of $3.51. Unless the administration takes steps to make us independent in gas supplies, costs could soon be a whole lot higher.
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