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Biden authorizes release of 50 million barrels of oil from US reserve, hoping to combat spike in gas prices

The average price for a gallon of gas in November 2021 was the country's highest since 2013, per US government data. ...
Gas station prices
A sign showing gas prices around $5 a gallon at a station in San Diego, California, in early November 2021.

  • Gas prices are at a record high in the US, with demand outstripping supply.
  • Biden authorized the release of 50M barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a bid to lower prices.

President Joe Biden authorized the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the US petroleum reserve in a bid to combat spiking gas prices.

"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 in a Tuesday statement.

Other countries including China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the UK were also planning to release oil from their reserves, the White House said.

The average price for a gallon of gas recorded in November — $3.38 — was the highest since 2013, NBC News reported, citing the Energy Information Administration.

Emergency releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve often take place after unforeseen disruptions to oil supply. In 2017, then-President Donald Trump's administration released 5.2 million barrels of oil after Hurricane Harvey shut down crude oil deliveries to the US.

As Insider's Andy Kiersz has reported, the US demand for gas increased as the economy opened and Americans started driving more, while supply remains constricted due to lower US production and overseas oil exporters repeatedly agreeing to only modest increases in production.

Last week Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the "mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies," citing the soaring gas prices even as fuel costs declined.

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