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Biden To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve To Lower Gas Prices

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that the Department of Energy would make available releases of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency pool kept by the United States, in an effort to lower gas prices for Americans and address the mismatch between demand exiting the pandemic and supply.

“The President has been working with countries across the world to address the lack of supply as the world exits the pandemic,” the White House said in a statement. “And, as a result of President Biden’s leadership and our diplomatic efforts, this release will be taken in parallel with other major energy consuming nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.”

Even as the President is helping to address oil supply imbalances, the White House says he is also focused on how consolidation in the oil and gas sector may be resulting in anti-competitive practices that keep American consumers from benefitting when oil prices fall.

There is mounting evidence that declines in oil prices are not translating into lower prices at the pump. Last week, the President asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine what is going on in oil and gas markets and to consider “whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump.”

“American consumers are feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, too, because oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic,” the White House said. “That’s why President Biden is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply.”

The average price for a gallon of gas was $3.40 on Tuesday, down a penny from Monday, according to AAA. The average price is up two cents per gallon from one month ago but markedly higher than the $2.11 price per gallon one year ago.

 

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