‘Take people with you,’ pleads official as evacuations from two cities expected to begin

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People fill their cars where prices for gas and diesel fuel are over $5 a gallon at a petrol station in Monterey Park, Calif. on March 4, 2022. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans along with much of the Western world have been united in condemning Russia for invading Ukraine.

Now they might have to start putting their money where their mouth is as US lawmakers consider an embargo on Russian oil.

High inflation and rising energy prices amid the economy’s pandemic recovery were already making life more expensive.

Now, a little more than a week into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war, California has become the first US state to have an average gas price above $5 per gallon.

Gas prices are surging nationwide. The national average record for gasoline — $4.11, set in 2008 — is within sight. That would be a huge jump from a year ago, when the national average price was $2.75 a gallon.

The average price of diesel is also skyrocketing, which will drive up transportation costs for businesses.

What Congress is doing: American lawmakers are pushing a bipartisan effort to end all imports of Russian oil and sanction Russia’s energy sector.

That the energy sector has so far been left mostly untouched speaks to the nature of the global energy supply. Russia was the world’s No. 2 oil producer last year, behind the US. A disruption in oil exports would drive up costs everywhere.

But politicians are willing to pay the price. “I’m all for that. Ban it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week on Capitol Hill.

“I would gladly pay 10 cents more per gallon,” Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, said at a Thursday press conference.

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