In the wake of already sky-high fuel costs in Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio warned constituents on Tuesday that a gallon of gas could exceed $4 if Russia goes through with an invasion of Ukraine, sending the price of a barrel of oil up to “$110 or $115,” according to the Senator.
The average cost of a gallon of gas in Florida as of Tuesday is $3.49 per gallon, according to AAA Florida. The proliferating rise in costs marks Florida’s highest gas prices since 2014, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stifles the production of oil. Rubio warns that Russia seizes control of Ukraine, a country with a high oil export rate, it could shut out the United States.
“He [Putin] knows that if he does this big move as I believe he will, this is going to increase oil prices to $110 or $115 dollars for some period of time,” Rubio said in a video posted to his Twitter. “The reason why this is going to be massive destruction to the global economy, and let me tell you what that translates to: a gallon of regular gas in America of $4.01. It’s already high and it can get that high.”
A Russian attack would be met by severe financial sanctions led by the United States and its allies, which Russia could retaliate by withholding oil from the American market, which is already tight and struggling to keep up with demand as nations worldwide move on from COVID-related economic slowdowns. According to AAA, Florida is the 21st most expensive state for gas. California tops the list at $4.74/gallon.
“Russia is one of the leading oil producers globally, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson on Tuesday. “And if they choose to withhold their oil from the global market, such a move would eventually be reflected in higher gas prices for American drivers.”
Rubio also warns that a Russian commodity blockade could drive up prices for food and electronics in the state as well due to Ukraine being a global leader in wheat and corn exportation. If Russia cuts off their Black Sea port, Rubio claims that the prices of food in Florida could rise a further 2 to 4 percent.
Amid an ongoing semiconductor shortage, a component used in many American products like computers, cars, and military systems, a Ukrainian blockade would further the current scarcity of the chips. Ukraine provides 90 percent of the neon and 35 percent of the palladium that domestic manufacturers use to produce semiconductors. Without access to these 2 elements, the shortage that was expected to endure throughout 2022 could stretch through the coming 3 years.
“You see the car shortages we have, and the electronics shortage we have here? That’s because those things rely on semiconductors, and there’s a shortage of those around the world. America is trying to get into the business of making more semiconductors here in the country, but Russia will now be able to cut us off from that and potentially cripple our efforts to build up our own supply of semiconductors,” said Rubio.
Gov. Ron DeSantis in January announced $6 million in funding to Osceola County in order to expand its technological research and development park. DeSantis placed focus on semiconductor chip manufacturing, calling the ongoing chip shortage a major issue facing not just Floridians, but for businesses nationwide.
“Manufacturing is something that we need to do a better job of. We’ve worked really hard … to expand our manufacturing footprint and we want to continue doing that moving forward,” said DeSantis. “Semiconductors are a huge issue. If you look at how the supply chain works, we are overly dependent on foreign nations, including Taiwan, which is a good ally of ours but is one that is under really serious pressure by the CCP in China, so I think the more we can do manufacturing semiconductors here, the better off we’ll be.