'every tool available'
The United States will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a bid to lower gas prices, the White House has announced.
The White House said Tuesday the Department of Energy will take this step as President Biden seeks to use "every tool available" to help Americans who are feeling "the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills." The releases will happen in parallel with China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) previously wrote to Biden and urged him to "consider all tools available at your disposal to lower U.S. gasoline prices," including "a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports," per CNN. CNN reported, though, that Biden "had been privately advised that tapping into the reserve wouldn't do much to alleviate the current problems," and The Washington Post reports that experts "have consistently said such a release would do little to lower prices at the pump."
Conservative commentator Scott Jennings dismissed the move announced Tuesday as a "meaningless PR stunt," while Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, argued on CNN it will "help middle class consumers get through this period of elevated prices." Bernstein added he believes this will last "until the oil market kind of comes down on its own."
The White House said that Biden "stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic."