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Biden administration to release 50 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve

In this October 25, 2021 photo, President Joe Biden speaks at the NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex to promote its economic program in Kearny, NJ (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

(The Hill) – The Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s strategic oil reserve, the White House said on Tuesday, as the Biden administration seeks ways to control rising costs at the pump.

Of the 50 million barrels, 32 million will ultimately be returned to the strategic reserve over the coming years once fuel prices come down in an effort to ensure the reserve remains in storage, officials said.

An additional 18 million barrels will be released as an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorized.

Tuesday’s announcement was made in concert with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK, which will also draw on their own strategic reserves.

The Biden administration has reportedly discussed the strategic reserve option in recent weeks to increase supply as consumers face higher gas prices amid broader concerns about inflation as the economy rebounds after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labor Department released statistics earlier this month showing consumer prices rose much faster than expected in October and annual inflation had hit a 30-year high.

The Consumer Price Index, which tracks inflation for a range of basic goods and services, rose 0.9% last month and 6.2% in the 12-month period ending in October. The price increase was largely attributable to a 4.8% increase in energy costs for the month, including a 1.6% increase in gasoline prices.

In a bid to curb gas prices as inflation contributes to falling poll numbers, President Joe Biden last week asked the head of the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil companies were illegally raising prices. .

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., A senior member of the Senate Energy Committee, said Tuesday that Biden’s own policies were to be blamed for needing to tap into the strategic reserve.

“We are experiencing higher prices because the administration and Congressional Democrats are waging a war on US energy,” Barrasso said in a statement, saying Tuesday’s announcement would not solve the problem on its own.

“Asking OPEC and Russia to increase production and now use the strategic oil reserve are desperate attempts to deal with a disaster caused by Biden,” Barrasso added. “They are not a substitute for American energy production.”

Congress is negotiating an estimated $ 2 trillion reconciliation package that is the cornerstone of Biden’s agenda and includes billions of dollars in investment in climate change programs, along with investments in renewable energy , electric cars and more.

The White House insisted that Tuesday’s announcement was not at odds with Biden’s goals of moving away from fossil fuels in the years to come.

“Today’s announcement reflects the president’s commitment to do everything in his power to reduce costs to the American people and continue our strong economic recovery,” the White House said in a statement. At the same time, the administration remains committed to the president’s ambitious clean energy goals, as evidenced by the landmark bipartisan infrastructure law signed last week and the House Build Back Better Act which represent together the largest investment in the fight against climate change in the United States in history and is a critical step towards achieving a net zero emission economy by 2050 and reducing our dependence on it. -vis of foreign fossil fuels.


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