Valley people confirm: American support for Russian sanctions rising with gas prices

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
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Gas prices are in uncharted territory and President Biden announced new sanctions Tuesday that will likely lead to more increases.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gas prices are in uncharted territory and President Biden announced new sanctions Tuesday that will likely lead to more increases.

The U.S. and UK are now banning Russian oil imports.

But the American public seems mostly ready to absorb the costs.

On the streets of downtown Fresno, support for American sanctions on Russia is fairly high.

RELATED: US banning Russian oil imports as Biden warns of 'costs' to Americans

"I think they're doing what they can - sanctions and everything else involved - other than starting a war," said Diana Tucci-Moore.

President Biden announced new sanctions Tuesday, banning Russian oil, which accounted for about 3.5% of American imports at about $4.7 billion in 2021.

"The decision today is not without cost here at home," President Biden said. "Putin's war is already hurting American families at the gas pump."

"Of course, it's impacting me," Richard Jimenez told us. "It's taking me over $120 to fill up my gas tank."

The rising cost is unmistakable at gas stations across the country.

But public opinion has moved in the same direction as gas prices.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll - taken in late February as Russian troops staged at the Ukrainian border - found 51% of Americans supported sanctions against Russia if it meant more expensive gas.

A week later, after the Russian invasion started, support for sanctions in an NPR/PBS/Marist poll was up to 69%, even if energy prices climbed.

RELATED: Valley businesses feeling impact of high gas prices

And this week, a Quinnipiac poll found that 71% of Americans backed a ban on Russian oil, no matter what it means for gas prices.

"I'm ready to take the hit for the time being as long as it's helping them," said Tucci-Moore. "I mean, we're over here whining about gas prices and masks and everything else. We're lucky we're here."

Support isn't universal, though.

"Is it worth it to have the gas prices go up?" a reporter asked three women in downtown Fresno.

"No, it's not worth it," said Savannah Higareda. "I feel like it's too much for what reason?"

"We all have cars except we like to come on the bus because of gas prices," said Jennifer Ramos.

RELATED: Where to find cheaper gas options in Central California

The people who talked to us were unanimous on one opinion: They want the invasion to end.

"I would definitely love for my gas prices to go down," Jimenez said. "So let's hurry up and settle this so the world can go back to normal. Come on, Putin. Put it away. Knock it off, Putin." predicts gas prices will continue to rise for a couple more months, peaking in May, but whatever happens with Russia's war in Ukraine will play an outsized role in where these numbers stop and whether the American public continues to support sanctions.