President Joe Biden will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to combat rising gasoline prices and “address” supply shortages.
According to a statement issued by the White House, the Department of Energy will release 32 million barrels over the course of the next few months. These will be replaced in subsequent years. Another 18 million barrels — the sale of which had already been authorized by Congress — will be added at a later date.
The deal will be carried out in parallel with other major energy-consuming nations such as China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, after months of negotiation.
“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,” read the statement.
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement on the matter Tuesday, saying Biden’s decision is an “attack” on the SPR, which is ready for “serious emergencies, like a war, and nothing else.”
Less oil in the reserve and more money per gallon of gasoline
The Biden administration’s decision comes at a time when inflation has reached levels not seen since 1990 and gasoline prices are soaring, reaching their highest peaks in 7 years.
Although the national average price is around $3.40 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), some states exceed that value by more than a dollar.
California is the state with the highest prices, with an average value of $4.70 per gallon. It is followed by Hawaii at $4.35, Nevada at $3.97, Washington at $3.87 and Oregon at $3.78.
However, as reported by the Associated Press (AP), prices are unlikely to begin dropping immediately over the holidays.
“Gasoline usually responds at a lag to changes in oil prices, and administration officials suggested this is one of several steps toward ultimately bringing down costs,” read the AP report.
Despite Biden’s decision to go to the SPR, some Democrats blame the oil companies (and not inflation) for skyrocketing gasoline prices.