Biden Is Set To Release More Oil Reserves – What Will It Mean for Gas Prices?
With gasoline prices ticking higher recently following a months-long decline, the Biden administration plans to release even more oil from the nation’s emergency reserves as a way of bringing more stability to the market.
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According to a White House fact sheet released on Tues., Oct. 18, President Joe Biden has directed the U.S. Department of Energy to issue a notice of sale today for 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be delivered in December. The president is prepared to authorize significant additional sales in coming months if conditions require, the fact sheet noted.
This represents a major step for the administration but not a new strategy. As GOBankingRates previously reported, the Biden administration first tapped the reserves in November 2021, then followed that in March 2022 by ordering the release of 1 million barrels of oil a day for six months. That was the largest release from the reserve in its nearly 50-year history.
The reserve now contains roughly 400 million barrels of oil — its lowest level in four decades.
Earlier this year the Energy Department said it was planning a new method of buybacks to permit a “competitive, fixed-price” bid process as an alternative to index pricing.
Another potential move is putting temporary limits on exports of fuel so more gasoline and diesel will remain in the United States, but a decision on that is not expected before next month’s midterm elections.
The administration’s decision to tap into more of the emergency reserve follows a recent announcement by OPEC and its oil-exporting allies to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels a day to boost prices.
Meanwhile, the national average gasoline price hit $3.854 a gallon as of Oct. 19, according to AAA. That’s down from $3.922 a week ago but up from $3.677 a month ago. Prices fell steadily during the summer and early fall after hitting an all-time high in mid-June but have lately begun to move higher.
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