Gas prices could rise if Trump goes hard af­ter Venezuela.

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

When you’re pres­i­dent, cheap gas is good pol­i­tics.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump un­der­stand this. Now Trump faces a dilemma: He wants to be a tough world leader who cracks down on foes like Venezuela, but that could cause gas prices to jump in the United States.

Trump is no fan of Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro. The White House is feel­ing the pres­sure to act. The most ob­vi­ous way to hurt Maduro is to hit the heart of Venezuela’s econ­omy: oil.

But Amer­i­can sanc­tions on Venezue­lan oil could back­fire. Venezuela sup­plies 10 percent of Amer­ica’s oil, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, mak­ing it the third-largest U.S. sup­plier be­hind Canada and Saudi Ara­bia.

Go­ing hard af­ter Venezuela would prob­a­bly cause gas prices to rise in the United States, at least in the short run. Philip Ver­leger, an en­ergy econ­o­mist who runs con­sult­ing firm PK Ver­leger, pre­dicts, “Prices would go up like a rocket. Gas prices in the U.S. would go up 25 or 30 cents a gal­lon within a cou­ple of weeks.”

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