WATCH: Russian Man Shows How Low Average Gasoline Prices Are There

Video blogger Dan Sheekoz shows gas prices at pumps in Russia. Screenshot Credit: Dan Sheekoz YouTube channel

The United States is carrying out a month of observing how effective sanctions will be to force Vladimir Putin to abandon his conquest of Ukraine. But that isn’t the only thing we should be gauging. What’s the baseline to measure how much pain the western world will inflict on the domestic Russian economy? And in turn, because sanctions are a two-edged sword, what kind of pain will the U.S. economy feel?


I figured the best place to track the sanctions/pain quotient would be with the price of a gallon of gasoline. In the United States, the price of gasoline resulting from this crisis now averages between $4.50 and $5.99 per gallon, depending on where you are in the country.  In the European Union, the price of a gallon of gasoline hovers around $8.00 per gallon.

To find the comparable number in Russia, I turned to my favorite source of unbiased raw news, YouTube.  And I found this wonderful, “simple Russian man” named Dan Sheekoz who posted a video on March 4, 2022.

Sheekoz visited gasoline stations in his town, jotting down gas prices. The video, which has gone viral, shows that the price per gallon of 95 octane fuel for an ordinary Russian citizen is $2.00 per gallon.

From a sanctions/pain quotient, we now have a people-to-people baseline to track whether or not our governments are succeeding or failing at using sanctions as a tool of statecraft. Americans suffer about twice the economic pain as Russians currently. Europeans are experiencing four times the pain at the pump.

Quite honestly, this piece of data does not bode well for U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to squeeze Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia is a massive oil and gas producer, and can maintain prices at these levels for far longer than the U.S. can tolerate damage to our economy at the pump. We may wind up assessing we are the disadvantaged ones economically, a month from now — the Europeans, even more so.


The timeline of trickle-down pain to ordinary people — from cutting off SWIFT terminal access to clamor in the streets — tends to be a slow one. Certainly, slower if a government has reserves to buffer the impact, which Putin’s Russia does. And pardon the irony, but Mr. Putin has a trump card to play against Mr. Biden.  Biden is still buying oil at prices that can subsidize domestic fuel prices in Russia. That’s a really self-defeating strategy if one is engaging in economic warfare as a form of state siege craft. I expect Mr. Putin will maintain his cheaper fuel prices for his country and Mr. Biden will either find another way to constructively confront Russia or give up.  Unfortunately, my instinct says, given the way I saw Mr. Biden use the State of the Union address more like a campaign whistle stop than a call to action, the plan is to wait for the right moment to capitulate.

By then, given that the U.S. and NATO have no appetite to step up real military support of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s valiant effort to preserve his country as an independent state will have evaporated.  Ukraine will be the new Hungary. Kyiv will have become Ukraine’s Stalingrad. Putin will have begun to expand westward.


America will be an even more hollow shell of our past glory. My Red State colleague Scott Hounsell pointed out in his well-written piece that the U.S. does have an obligation to honor the bravery of Ukraine as the only nation that ever gave up an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons to seek a more peaceful place in the world after the Cold War. And we are abandoning them to a reincarnation of Joseph Stalin.

As military historian William DuPuy puts it so well about failed empires, “A hundred years of glory followed by a long and arduous decline.”


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