WASHINGTON D.C.: To encourage a drop in sky-high gasoline prices, President Biden said the Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil held in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The move aims to relieve the burden on Americans, who are paying more for gasoline than they have in years.
The White House said 32 million barrels, of the overall 50 million, will be released but eventually replenished in the reserve over the next few years, while the remaining 18 million barrels are part of a sale authorized by Congress.
Biden has tried to pressure the 14 OPEC member countries and Russia to pump more supply into the global market, but this has had minimal effect.
His administration also partly blamed higher prices on the effects of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and blamed energy companies for alleged anti-competitive behavior.
Last week, Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether "illegal conduct" is increasing prices.
"There is mounting evidence that the declines in oil prices are not translating into lower prices at the pump," the White House said.
According to US data, Americans paid an average $3.29 per gallon in October, the highest price since September 2014.
"As we come out of an unprecedented global economic shutdown, oil supply has not kept up with demand, forcing working families and businesses to pay the price," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, as quoted by Fox News.
As of 19th November, the U.S. Strategic Reserve contained 604.5 million barrels, according to the Department of Energy.
In 2020, the U.S. consumed some 18.19 million barrels of petroleum per day, on average, or a total of about 6.66 billion barrels of petroleum, the lowest annual consumption since 1995.