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The Truth About Ukraine, Gas Prices, and U.S. Energy Security

This page was published 2 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a tragic humanitarian crisis and thrown global energy markets into turmoil. While the people of Ukraine fight for their lives and their country, the fossil fuel industry and its political allies are exploiting this crisis in an attempt to boost their profits. They are pushing false solutions that would keep us reliant on fossil fuels, at the expense of hardworking families, our health, and the planet. Here’s what you need to know about U.S. energy security.

Why are oil and gas prices going up? 

  • Oil and gas prices are determined by global energy markets, and U.S. policies have very little short-term impact. 
  • Demand for oil collapsed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and oil producers around the globe cut back on production. Now that demand is rebounding faster than supply, we’re feeling the effects at the pump while oil companies look to protect their profits. 
  • Meanwhile, the gas industry has been ramping up exports overseas to increase its profits, driving up the price of gas here at home. 
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the situation worse, creating uncertainty in global markets. Russia supplies about 40% of Europe’s gas.
  • As long as the U.S. relies on fossil fuels, geopolitical instability and volatile energy prices will impact Americans. 

Would it help if the U.S. ramped up oil and gas production?

  • No. Don’t be fooled by false solutions from the fossil fuel industry: We can’t drill our way out of this crisis. 
  • U.S. oil output can’t rise overnight. New leases on public lands and waters would not increase our oil and gas supply for nearly a decade, and even then would have little impact on global prices.
  • Oil and gas companies are already sitting on 9,000 unused permits to drill onshore, along with record profits and billions in government subsidies. 
  • It’s impossible for the U.S. to export enough gas to meet Europe’s demand and replace supplies from Russia in the near-term. Doing so would take years, cost us billions, increase pollution in overburdened communities, and further drive up prices at home. 
  • Building more oil and gas pipelines, export facilities, and other fossil fuel infrastructure would do nothing to help Americans today and would lock in decades of pollution that harms our health and the planet. 

What can the U.S. do to secure our energy future? 

  • As President Biden said, the only way to achieve real energy security is to end our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to a zero-emissions, 100% clean energy future.
  • That means investing big in renewable sources like wind and solar, switching to zero-emission transportation, electrifying homes and buildings, and improving energy efficiency. 
  • A clean energy future means Americans won’t have to worry about wild swings in gasoline prices or fossil fuels being used as leverage in international conflicts. 
  • And transitioning to clean energy is essential to tackle the climate crisis, which will drive even more global instability unless we act now.
  • Earthjustice is using the power of the law to stand up to polluters, advance clean energy solutions, protect public health, and fight for justice for the planet and its people.  

What can I do to help?

Keep the pressure on your elected officials to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels to achieve real, long-term energy security.

Gas prices over $5.00 a gallon are displayed at Valero and Chevron gas stations on February 23, 2022, in Mill Valley, California.
Gas prices over $5.00 a gallon are displayed at Valero and Chevron gas stations on February 23, 2022, in Mill Valley, California. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)