The Atlantic Daily: Ukraine and the Coming Energy Shock

Gas prices are already high. The Russia-Ukraine crisis threatens to further squeeze the global energy market.

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For months, filling up at the pump has been more costly than usual, with U.S. gas prices hitting their highest point since 2014. The intensifying Russia-Ukraine crisis threatens to further squeeze the global energy market: Russia, which faces Western sanctions over the conflict, is the world’s third-largest oil exporter.

  • Why did gas get this expensive in the first place? Experts have three theories, Robinson Meyer reports in his newsletter, The Weekly Planet. One is simple: “Investors are spooked” by diminished U.S. and European reserves and by global upheaval. The other two are more complex: “The Scarcity Theory,” for one, holds that “current oil inflation is only the tip of the suffering to come” in the United States.
  • Russia could upend the energy market. If the country responds to Western sanctions by cutting off oil supply to Europe, gas prices could spike around the world, David Frum writes: “Some commentators are comparing the current Russian aggression against Ukraine to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in August 1939. Here’s another analogy that could be more accurate: In 1979, upheavals in the Middle East sent energy prices soaring—and Western economies tumbling.”
Imprints of COVID over red and white stripes
(The Atlantic)

The rest of the news in three sentences:

(1) A new COVID-19 vaccine made by Sanofi and GSK was shown to be highly effective in trials, according to data released by the companies.

(2) Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed a state agency to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender youth as a form of child abuse.

(3) The two prosecutors in charge of the Manhattan D.A.’s investigation into Donald Trump resigned.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Read a poem: Here’s Christian Wiman’s “From a Window,” which was first published in The Atlantic in 2008.

A break from the news:

Our staff writer Amanda Mull wants to know why it’s hard to find a decent floor lamp online.