WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is freeing 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve to lower prices amid a recent surge in gas prices and surging inflation, the White House said on Tuesday.
Thirty-two million barrels released by the Department of Energy will be traded in the coming months, oil that will eventually return to the strategic oil reserve in the years to come. An additional 18 million barrels will be released in the coming months, speeding up a sale of oil that Congress previously authorized.
“American consumers are feeling the impact of high gas prices at the pump and on their home heating bills, and so are American businesses, as oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy exits. pandemic, ”the White House said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“That is why President Biden is using every tool at his disposal to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply.”
The release of oil from the national stock will be done in parallel with other countries, including China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
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Inflation, energy prices have increased steadily
Biden is under mounting political pressure to relieve Americans of rising gas prices and take action to control inflation, which last month peaked in 31 years. Republicans blamed Biden’s policies for the rising cost of consumer goods, including energy prices, while Democrats pointed to other positive economic indicators, such as falling unemployment.
The decision to tap into the country’s strategic stock comes as gas prices have risen steadily in recent months before leveling off last week.
Average gas prices fell this week for the second week in a row, falling 1.9 cents from last week, according to fuel prices website GasBuddy. The average price is $ 3.39 per gallon, according to data GasBuddy compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering more than 150,000 gas stations across the country.
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The national average is up 2.8 cents from a month ago and $ 1.30 per gallon more than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 0.1 cent last week to $ 3.63 per gallon.
Biden had called on oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to increase production to relieve American consumers of high gas prices. But those countries have rejected requests to pump more crude, leaving Biden with few options to lower gas prices.
Biden last week called on federal regulators to investigate whether oil and gas companies are engaging in “illegal behavior” by taking advantage of high gas prices that have skyrocketed during the pandemic. He called for the investigation in a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan, saying “there is growing evidence of anti-consumer behavior on the part of oil and gas companies.”
The federal government reported earlier this month that inflation has risen over the past 12 months as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The consumer price index rose 0.9% in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said, leaving prices 6.2% higher than a year earlier. This is the largest 12-month increase since 1990.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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