Bill introduced following months of extensive Global Witness research

US Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) today introduced a bill to the House of Representatives which proposes that the US government ban the import of petroleum products that are made from Russian-origin oil.

The proposal comes after months of extensive research by Global Witness which unearthed the extent to which the US is importing refined products – mainly gasoline – made from Russian crude.

This trade sees Russian oil sold to refineries in third countries, which then legally export products like gasoline to the US. That means American gasoline purchases continue to contribute to oil revenues the Kremlin uses to wage war on Ukraine. and October

This bill aims to sever that link at no additional cost to the taxpayer. If enacted, the legislation will prohibit the import of oil from refineries that import Russian crude, disincentivising purchases from Russia and reducing demand for the Kremlin’s main export.   

The push to close the loophole in the US comes alongside a similar push in the UK. Original research by Global Witness found that the UK’s own refining loophole contributed at least £40 million to the Kremlin in the first half of the year, and that Russian oil fuelled 1 in 20 UK flights this summer. The investigation was reported widely in the UK in August after being broadcast on the BBC’s flagship news hour programme, Newsnight.

The bill is co-sponsored by more than 30 Members of Congress, including both Republicans and Democrats.

"The Ending Importation of Laundered Russian Oil Act will sever one of America’s last remaining ties to Kremlin oil money,” said Christopher Lambin at Global Witness. “This common-sense law will demonstrate continued support for Ukraine at a time of acute global conflict without additional cost to the federal budget.”

Eleanor Nichol of B4Ukraine - a global coalition of more than 80 civil society groups working to defund Russia's war -  said: "Every penny spent on Russian oil - whether it’s crude oil or refined product - helps pay for Russia's war against Ukraine and war crimes against the Ukrainian people. That's why B4Ukraine is proud to support this bill to stop refined Russian oil from reaching the United States.”