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January 26, 2023
The White House has announced that the Department of Energy will be selling an additional 20 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to bring down gas prices. This is the fifth such sale authorized by President Biden.
The White House has blamed “disruptions posed by Russia’s invasion” for the high prices, but claims that the Biden administration’s actions are making a “tremendous difference.”
Republicans have criticized the sales, calling them “political posturing” and accusing the administration of ” playing games with our energy security.” They have also accused China of being a major beneficiary of the sales.
The average price of gas in the US has fallen significantly since June, when it was over $5 per gallon, but is still higher than it was when Biden took office in January 2021. The current national average price is $4.327.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the world’s largest emergency oil stockpile, and was created in the 1970s in response to the oil crisis. It currently contains about 660 million barrels of oil.
According to the White House, the oil will be sold on the open market and the proceeds will go towards funding clean energy initiatives. The sale is expected to take place over a period of 30 days.
This latest announcement comes as gas prices continue to rise across the country. The national average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.03, up from $2.96 a week ago.
The White House has been under pressure to do something to bring down gas prices, as they have been steadily rising since the start of the year. President Biden has said that he is “committed to taking action to help families dealing with the pinch at the pump.”
The Department of Energy is also proposing a rule change that would allow the federal government to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at fixed prices, rather than index prices. The current rule requires purchase prices to be set by a price index, with the price paid being based on market prices at the time of delivery.
If adopted, the new rule would allow the government to lock in purchase prices for oil, which could help to stabilize gas prices. The proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days.