Annenberg Radio News

Higher gas prices expected following Russia-Ukraine invasion

Sanctions will lead to overall higher inflation, according to USC professor.

The most immediate effect could be gas prices at the pump going up. Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers, and especially as of recently, a major exporter of oil to the U.S. Now with sanctions ruling that out, already high prices could go up even more–maybe by about 50 cents a gallon for consumers. Jonathan Aronson is a Professor of Communications, Political Science, and International Relations at USC’s Dornsife and Annenberg.

ARONSON: Well, gas hit $100 a barrel today. It ain’t going to go down soon.

President Biden at his press conference today warned gas companies to “not exploit this moment to hype prices.” And what’s worse is that higher gas prices could lead to overall higher inflation.

A large part of Biden’s press conference today was devoted to reassuring Americans even though his government is imposing sanctions against Russia. Any economic pain Americans feel because of these will be short-lived “as long as we continue to stay resolved,” Biden said.

Yet, the already high rate of inflation in the US could get worse. The costs of many, if not most, things we buy could go up, says Professor Aronson.

ARONSON: We’ve already experienced prices at the supermarket going up, but it’s not going to go down anytime soon.

The U.S. could carry out cyberattacks against Russia to try to disrupt Russia’s military operations. But Russia could, then, retaliate against the U.S. President Biden repeated a warning to Russia not to conduct cyberattacks on American targets. But he did not say how the US would respond to any such provocation. Again, USC’s Professor Aronson:

ARONSON: Well, the biggest question–this is a big if–is if the cyber attacks get out of control.

It’s easier to attack than to defend cyber. What you can be sure of is if the U.S. wanted to, they could launch a significant cyberattack that would do great damage to Russia and its allies. They’re very hesitant to do that, because that would get retaliation.

Stocks fell when news of President’s Putin’s invasion broke. But by Thursday afternoon, after President Biden spoke and announced the new sanctions on Russia, Russian elites, and Russian state-owned businesses and banks, the European Union also announced sanctions, and the U.S. stock market rallied back! The U.S. major stock indexes actually ended the day higher! The longer the conflict goes on, and the more nations are involved, the greater will be the effects on life in the US.