Why banning Russian oil may not ruin their economy

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation Now) — Some experts are cautioning that crippling Russia financially would take more than Western powers shunning their oil.

“I don’t think they’ll fully collapse, in part because of China. China is going to continue to buy oil from Russia,” Dmitri Alperovitch, a former NATO advisor, said Thursday on “The Donlon Report.” “Their economy is going to contract this year massively, but it’s not going to collapse completely.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined a growing bipartisan drum beat Thursday in favor of banning Russian oil in America. It appeals to both parties in theory — Democrats want to accelerate the switch to renewable energy and Republicans want to reduce energy dependency on foreign countries.

But the cost to Americans could be higher than the cost to Russia’s government. Gas prices would continue to climb to heights we haven’t seen in decades. The U.S. average was nearly $3.73 a gallon Thursday, up almost $1 from a year ago, according to AAA motor club.

Ivo Daalder, former U.S. representative to NATO, believes a U.S. and European Union ban on Russian oil is inevitable.

“As soon as the situation Ukraine gets even worse … I think that will be the reaction,” Daalder said. He believes Americans would rather pay more for gas than send troops.

An American ban alone may not be enough to make Russia feel war-altering pain. The U.S. imported a small but notable amount of oil from Russia — some 7 % of all imports of crude oil and petroleum products. Some U.S. industry groups say the actual amount is even less. In 2021, the U.S. brought in roughly 245 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia — a one-year increase of 24%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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