Following a letter sent by House Democrats to President Biden on Monday urging the release of oil from the strategic reserves, the White House announced on Tuesday it will do so to ease prices ahead of the holidays.
Biden will release strategic oil reserves to combat high gas prices
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it is going to release oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to combat the steadily rising gasoline prices ahead of the holiday season.
The Department of Energy will make 50 million barrels of oil available in an effort to lower prices and counter the offset between consumer demand and the supply. Gasoline prices have reached their highest level in seven years.
A senior administration official said on Tuesday that the release of the strategic oil reserves should translate to lower gasoline prices quickly. Officials added they will be watching to make sure that energy companies are passing along the lower price of oil to consumers at the pump.
The White House says the action has been in the works for several weeks, NBC reported.
However, the move comes only a day after nearly a dozen congressional Democrats sent the president a letter urging him to release oil from America’s strategic reserves.
House Democrats urged Biden to ban oil exports and release strategic reserves
The announcement by the White House on Tuesday follows a letter sent to the president on Monday by nearly a dozen house Democrats urging Biden to tap into the strategic oil reserves, as well as ban oil exports.
In the letter, which was viewed and reported on by CNN, the congressional Democrats urged the president to take action, saying: “We must use all the tools at our disposal to bring down gasoline prices in the short term.”
The letter sent to Biden on Monday was labeled an “urgent issue,” by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and eight other House Democrats who signed it, and called for the president to ensure “affordable and reliable energy for American families.”
“Our primary responsibility is how do we bring the cost down for working class Americans,” Rep. Khanna said in an interview with CNN. “This is something that people are upset about. We need to address that concern.”
Democrats in the Senate sent a similar letter to Biden earlier this month, CNN reported.
Thanksgiving gas price woes
As of Tuesday, November 23, 2021, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.403, according to the gas price tracking page at AAA.
Two states had an average price over $4 per gallon: California at $4.705 and Hawaii at $4.352.
Seven Western states, plus Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Pennsylvania, led the nation with the highest gas prices above $3.599.
Only one US state had an average gasoline price lower than $3 dollars per gallon, Oklahoma at $2.974.