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They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Now you can add a new one to that list: higher natural gas prices.
On several occasions I have written about the misguided trend developing in the U.S. toward exporting away our natural gas bounty. America has been blessed with huge amounts of natural gas, making that critical energy source very abundant and cheap. This has translated into major benefits for American industry and consumers.
World prices for natural gas are anywhere from 3x to 4x as high as our domestic prices. I have explained in the past how exporting our gas can only mean that over time our domestic price will trend toward the world price.
The export trend is being driven by giant energy producers here in the U.S., who have spent millions lobbying Congress and the Obama Administration to approve more export markets. Thankfully the trend has been going slowly.
Only a few nations, such as China, Japan, Canada and Mexico, have been approved for U.S. natural gas exports (and some others approved for "re-export"). So the rising price trend, which is already happening, is developing slowly.
Expect all that to change for one simple reason: Ukraine. The U.S. is looking to punish Russia for its actions in Crimea. Congress and the Obama Administration want to target Russia's gas exports Europe to try and inflict damage on the Russian economy. Congressional pressure is building on the Energy Department to expedite gas sales to Europe.