WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices amid a recent spike in gas prices and soaring inflation, the White House announced Tuesday.

Threety-two millions barrels of oil will be released by Department of Energy in an exchange. It will occur over several months. Oil that eventually returns to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will then return to it. Another 18 million barrels will be released incoming months, accelerating a sale of oil that Congress had previously authorized.

The White House released a statement on Tuesday morning stating that American consumers feel the effects of higher gas prices and their heating bills.

“That’s why President Biden is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply.”

The release of oil from the nation’s stockpile will be taken in parallel with other countries, including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.

More:Are rising gasoline prices due to ‘illegal behavior’? Biden calls on regulators to investigate.

Energy prices and inflation have been steadily rising

Biden has been under mounting political pressure to provide Americans relief from higher gas prices and to take steps to tame inflation, which last month hit a 31-year high. Republicans have blamed Biden’s policies for increasing the price of consumer goods and energy prices. Democrats, however, have pointed out positive indicators such as declining unemployment.  

The decision to dip into the nation’s strategic stockpile comes as gas prices rose steadily for the past few months before leveling off last week.

Average gas prices fell this week for the second straight week, dropping 1.9 cents from a week ago, according to the fuel-price website GasBuddy. According to GasBuddy data, the average gas price is $3.39 per gallon. This information was compiled using more than 1 million price reports from over 150,000 stations in the US.

More:The seven-year record for gas prices is reached. This is a list of states that drivers have to pay the highest gasoline prices.

Nationally, the average price of diesel is $1.30/gallon more expensive than it was a year ago. Diesel prices have risen by 0.1 percent in the past week to $3.63 per gallon.

Biden had called on oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ramp up production to provide some relief to American consumers from high gas prices. Biden is left with very few options for lowering gas prices because these nations have rejected requests to increase crude oil production.

Biden called last week for federal regulators to investigate whether oil and gas companies are engaging in “illegal conduct” by profiting from high gas prices that have skyrocketed during the pandemic.  In a letter addressed to Lina Khan, chair of Federal Trade Commission, Biden asked for an investigation into whether there is “mounting evidence” that oil and natural gas companies have been engaging in anti-consumer behaviour.

Federal government earlier reported that inflation had risen in the last 12 months, as the U.S. recovers from the pandemic coronavirus. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index rose 0.9% in October. This means prices are 6.2% more than one year before. This represents the highest 12-month rise since 1990.

Michael Collins reports on the White House. Follow Michael Collins on Twitter at @mcollinsNEWS

More:Joe Biden: How can Joe Biden help control soaring inflation?

Source: USAToday.com

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