BERLIN -- German automakers and suppliers said they are preparing for the possibility that Russia will cut off gas supplies to Europe as a result of the Ukraine conflict.
Gazprom, the Russian state energy company, fired a warning shot on Wednesday toward countries that support Ukraine when it halted gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. The two countries had refused Russia's demand that they pay for natural gas in rubles rather than dollars, a position supported by most European countries.
As a result, natural gas futures were up more than 20 percent on Wednesday.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, is especially dependent on natural gas from Russia, which accounted for 55 percent of its gas imports in 2021 and 40 percent in the first quarter of 2022, according to Reuters.
The German government has activated its energy emergency plan, calling for industry and households to save energy and reduce usage. Rationing could be imposed in the future, with industry first in line for power cuts, the German economic ministry has said.