The Biden administration is scrambling to limit the damage both at home and abroad as Russia once again this week slashed its energy supplies to the European Union.
Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom announced it will cut the flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline into Germany — and thus the EU — to only 20% of capacity. It is, of course, retaliation for U.S. and Western sanctions and arming of Ukrainian forces.
The result is something one U.S. official called “uncharted territory.” Even as July heat sears the northern hemisphere, will Europe have enough natural gas to get through the frigid winter months?
At home, the same U.S. official worried that what Moscow is unleashing in Europe will push energy and electricity prices back skyward after their recent dips.
The national average for a gallon of regular gas continues to fall, though that may be short lived. AAA reported the average on Tuesday was down to $4.32 per gallon, off from the June 14 record of $5.01.
Still, it is critical to note that Biden’s stubborn and nonsensical refusal to increase the supply of what the U.S. has readily available continues to be dangerous. It is likely to bite U.S. consumers hard, and absolutely will impact an EU virtually cut off from its Russian suppliers.
The White House on Tuesday was quick to trumpet the Department of Energy’s new notice of oil to be sold globally from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The administration, of course, wants credit for the price of gas falling recently.
But experts note that the impact of those millions of barrels tipping over into the markets may be as small as $0.13 per gallon. It’s not nothing, but it’s also not the lion’s share of the drop either.
Interestingly, the program of releasing oil from the nation’s reserves ends in October — just before the November midterms.
Russia almost closing the tap on natural gas just adds fuel to inflationary fires that pushed the commodity up 77% in July alone. U.S. natural gas futures skyrocketed 11% on Tuesday after Russia’s announcement to their highest levels since 2008.
As long as the president sits on his hands and thus on drilling for energy independence, Americans can look forward to being held hostage even more by Russia and other tyrants. The spillover that is coming across the Atlantic, thanks to the White House’s refusal to drill, is inevitable.