The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas was more than $4.25 on Sunday, according to AAA, which is down slightly from a record high on March 11. (Adobe Stock)

Listen to the story HERE.

By Emily Scott

March 21, 2022   

As Pennsylvania residents are feeling pain at the pump amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis, clean-energy advocates say it is a prime example of why the country needs to find more sustainable energy sources beyond oil and gas.

The rise in gas prices is connected to the ban on the importation of Russian oil as a result of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, said although Russian oil makes up only about 4% of daily oil usage in the U.S., it still has a global impact. Webster argued the volatility of the market combined with nations using it as a tactic against Putin speaks to the need for the U.S. to move toward energy sources such as solar and wind.

“If you realize fossil fuels are the funding source for Putin’s war in Ukraine, in the short term and in the long term, solutions to our crisis right now and the gas prices begin with reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” Webster contended.

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed suspending or reducing the state’s 57.6 cent per gallon gas tax, the highest in the nation. Opponents countered it would not address the larger reasons for the rise in gas prices, such as the nation’s dependence on importing crude oil.

Webster said passing Build Back Better’s clean-energy provisions is one step on the federal level that could be taken. In Pennsylvania, he said the adoption of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multistate cap-and-invest program to cut carbon emissions, could help.

“What oil and gas companies have done for 100 years in Pennsylvania is leave the trash in our woods,” Webster pointed out. “Their cost of business should include cleaning up their waste products. By using RGGI, we force the market to sort of pay for that carbon left in the air or the spill left in the ground.”

The state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee on March 29 to discuss RGGI’s economic impacts. Some lawmakers have been resistant to RGGI, saying it would hurt the state economy.


Gas taxes by state Federation of Tax Administrators Jan. 2022
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection 2022
Current gas prices AAA 2022