Gasoline Prices Pointing to All-Time Highs

U.S. mulls Russian oil ban, putting pressure on prices at the pump

Gasoline prices in the United States passed $4 per gallon—the highest prices since 2012—as the U.S. and European allies consider banning purchases of Russian oil in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Crude oil jumped to $130 per barrel earlier today. It slipped even further from its highest prices after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a statement rejected efforts to ban imports, saying Russian oil is required to meet the country's energy needs. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told CNN that the U.S. and Europe were discussing "the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil."

U.S. gasoline surged 13% to $4.06 per gallon as of Monday morning, according to AAA's prices summary, about 40 cents higher than a week earlier. Californians are paying an average of $5.34 per gallon.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude Oil Prices

In a reflection of the desperation of the situation, U.S. officials traveled to Venezuela over the weekend to discuss easing sanctions imposed in 2019 that would permit trading of the country's oil in international markets, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gas is probably heading for $4.50 per gallon on average, according to Patrick Dehaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy LLC in Boston.

Stock of the Day: Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) are skyrocketing after activist investor Ryan Cohen called on the retailer to explore strategic alternatives, including possibly selling the company.

Cohen, who is co-founder of pet supplies retailer Chewy, Inc. (CHWY) and chair of video game retailer GameStop Corp. (GME), wrote to the Bed Bath & Beyond board calling for action, noting that his R.C. Ventures investment firm now holds a 9.8% stake in the firm. That makes it one of the five biggest shareholders.

Cohen argued that, in the almost two and a half years under the leadership of CEO Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond has underperformed the market, and its sales are below pre-pandemic levels. He said that the retailer needs to "narrow its focus to fortify operations and maintain the right inventory mix to meet demand," while at the same time look at other options, including separating its buybuy Baby unit and putting the whole company up for sale.

Board Response

The Bed Bath & Beyond board responded by noting that it and the management team had no contact with R.C. Ventures before now, adding that it would carefully review the letter and "hope to engage constructively around the ideas they have put forth."

The news sent Bed, Bath & Beyond shares up 39%. Before today, the stock price had fallen 42% over the past year.

Article Sources
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  1. "Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the Subject of Energy Supply."

  2. U.S. Department of State. "Secretary Blinken With Jake Tapper of CNN."

  3. AAA. "Gas Prices."

  4. The Wall Street Journal. "U.S. Officials Meet With Regime in Venezuela, to Discuss Oil Exports to Replace Russia's."

  5. GasBuddy. "Gas Prices Skyrocket, Nearing All-Time High."

  6. R.C. Ventures. "Letter to Best Buy from Ryan Cohen."

  7. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. "Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Comments on Letter From RC Ventures."

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