To lower gas prices, Biden authorizes release from US strategic oil reserve

(WASHINGTON) — The White House said Tuesday that President Joe Biden will tap into the nation’s strategic oil reserve to help offset a surge in gasoline prices.

Biden, facing rising consumer discontent ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, will make the formal announcement in remarks Tuesday afternoon, a senior administration official told ABC News.

Other countries, including China and India will release their own reserves in concert with the U.S. move, the White House said in a statement.

“Today, the President is announcing that the Department of Energy will make available releases of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices for Americans and address the mismatch between demand exiting the pandemic and supply,” the White House said.

It said Biden has been working with countries across the world to address the lack of supply as the world exits the pandemic.

“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. This culminates weeks of consultations with countries around the world, and we are already seeing the effect of this work on oil prices. Over the last several weeks as reports of this work became public, oil prices are down nearly 10 percent,” the White House said.

“The U.S. Department of Energy will make available releases of 50 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in two ways: 32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, releasing oil that will eventually return to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the years ahead. The exchange is a tool matched to today’s specific economic environment, where markets expect future oil prices to be lower than they are today, and helps provide relief to Americans immediately and bridge to that period of expected lower oil prices. The exchange also automatically provides for re-stocking of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over time to meet future needs,” the statement said.

Experts said Americans will see a quick drop in prices almost immediately. But the larger impact won’t hit for about two weeks, when gas stations across the nation lower prices.

A senior administration official, citing a low global supply of oil that is contributing to driving up fuel costs, said the decision has been made to ease costs on everyday American consumers as pressures between demand and the easing of the pandemic create unique conditions.

“We think that this is an immediate challenge that we face as we are exiting the global pandemic and supply has not kept up,” the official told reporters Tuesday morning. “We think that this is exactly suited to that.”

ABC’s Sarah Kolinovsky and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

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