Gas price hikes in the United States have hit unprecedented levels, with the average price of a gallon of gas surging above $5 a gallon this month.

The price hike has been felt across the Atlantic as European countries reel from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The political fallout has resulted in Russia reducing its gas exports to European countries who now face a shortage.

The shortage has forced Germany’s hand, as the Economy Minister announced on Monday morning that the country will temporarily shift back to burning coal for a ‘transitional period.’

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Germany has said the deteriorating gas market situation means Europe’s largest economy must limit the use of natural gas for electricity production and burn more coal for a “transitional period.”

Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Sunday warned that the situation is going to be “really tight in winter” without precautionary measures to prevent a supply shortage.

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As a result, Germany will seek to compensate for a cut in Russian gas supplies by increasing the burning of coal — the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel in terms of emissions and therefore the most important target for replacement in the transition toward renewable alternatives.

“That’s bitter, but it’s almost necessary in this situation to reduce gas consumption. We must and we will do everything we can to store as much gas as possible in summer and autumn,” the Green Party’s Habeck said in a statement, according to a translation.

The European Union receives roughly 40% of its gas via Russian pipelines.  Russian oil giant Gazprom cut half its supplies to Germany earlier this month, some of which it attributed to ‘technical issues’, though German officials claim it was politically motivated.

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