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Plastic, allergy pills, tires: expect prices on everyday items to rise after the Russia oil ban

"Anyone who thinks that won’t impact us, yah, it will," said a grain marketing economist at the University of Minnesota.

MINNESOTA, USA — The Biden administration's decision to ban Russian oil will have an impact on all of us that goes far beyond just gas prices.

Experts say we can expect to see higher food prices and it starts with a critical crop - wheat.

"Ukraine and Russia are large exporters of grains, particularly wheat," said University of Minnesota grain market economist Ed Usset. "They sport some of the richest soils on Earth."

Usset says most of their wheat goes to the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Asia, but disruptions will be felt in the United States. Concerns of a shortage are driving up the price of wheat that Usset says has already increased nearly 50%.

"Now, that doesn't mean the price of a loaf of bread will go up 40% to 50%," said Usset. "But it'll impact food prices and we shouldn't kid ourselves about that."

Russia is also a major fertilizer producer - an already expensive commodity that farmers need, but it's also caught up in persistent supply chain problems that could impact the spring planting season.

"That is a big issue for farmers today in Minnesota, wheat, corn and soybean producers who are looking at planting a crop in six to eight weeks from now," said Usset. "If they can’t get the fertilizer, they may make a last minute switch to wheat."

Usset says corn farmers in northwestern Minnesota may plant wheat instead because it takes less fertilizer to help the grain grow.

While the ban on Russian oil will impact gas prices, only 60% of the world's oil consumption is in the form of fuel. The rest is used, in part, for every day household products that could get more expensive too.

That includes anything made out of and packaged in plastic, like smart phones, tires and foam seat cushions. 

It also includes burn ointment, cold and allergy pills, gummy vitamins and even Band-Aids that are all made with oil.

"As this conflict rages and we don’t know where it’s going, we better get used to it," said Usset.

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