US GAS NIGHTMARE! Biden Taps Oil Reserves in Bid to Tamp Down rising Energetic Supplies Prices

US GAS NIGHTMARE! Biden Taps Oil Reserves in Bid to Tamp Down rising Energetic Supplies Prices

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by NBC News

The Biden administration is taking the rare step of releasing oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to address rising gas prices ahead of the holiday season, the White House said in a statement Tuesday.

As part of the move, the Department of Energy will make available 50 million barrels of oil to lower prices and address the mismatch between consumer demand and supply amid the pandemic that has driven prices to their highest levels in seven years, the White House said.

The action, which has been in the works for several weeks, comes amid growing concern within the White House about inflation as prices rise on everything from fuel to Thanksgiving turkeys. The release of the oil reserves should quickly translate into lower prices at the pump, and officials will be watching to make sure energy companies are passing along lower oil prices to consumers, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

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“Consumers are facing challenges at the pump right now, and we are trying to deal with that situation and to deal with it in a smart way, in a tailored way, in an aggressive way, so that’s what you’re seeing today,” the official said in a call with reporters.

The decision was made jointly with other major energy consuming countries — including India, Japan and South Korea — to curb increasing energy prices after oil-rich nations rejected repeated calls to increase production as the global economy rebounds from the pandemic and fuel demands rise.

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While the use of the nation’s oil stockpile is typically reserved for emergencies, the administration has broad authority to conduct oil exchanges — releases that are repaid to the stockpile — and is partly relying on a previously authorized release, the official said. Of the 50 million barrels, 32 million will be returned to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next three years on the assumption that prices go down in the future, and 18 million will come from a sale approved by Congress in the 2018 budget.

The Energy Department said it plans to release most of the oil between January and April, with some early deliveries accepted in late December. Oil prices have already dropped 10 percent in anticipation of the announcement, the senior administration official said.

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Gas prices in the U.S. ahead of Thanksgiving are averaging $3.42 a gallon, the highest since 2014. Parts of the country are experiencing sharper increases, including California where prices are over $4.50 in some areas. More than 48 million people are expected to travel by car over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to predictions by the motorist assistance company AAA.

The Biden administration has attributed the rise in gas prices to the global oil supply not keeping pace with demand around the world as the economy has recovered from the pandemic. It blamed other countries and companies for holding back oil supplies, as well as energy companies for not passing along decreases in oil prices to consumers, the senior administration official said.

Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission last week to investigate what he described as “anti-consumer” behavior by oil and gas companies and whether it could have led to increased gas prices.

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The White House has attempted to address gas prices as concerns about inflation have increasingly become a criticism of Biden’s presidency. He has seen his approval ratings tumble in recent months, with Americans giving him particularly low marks for his handling of the economy.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that while the stockpile move was “an important policy Band-Aid” for increasing gas prices, it would not solve “the self-inflicted wound that shortsighted energy policy is having on our nation.”

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Originally published by NBC News


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