The White House announced on Tuesday that it had ordered 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to lower energy costs, in coordination with other countries including China.
The move is an effort to bring down rising gas prices. Gasoline prices nationwide are averaging about $ 3.40 per gallon, more than double their price a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association.
The Strategic Oil Reserve is an emergency stockpile to preserve access to oil in the event of natural disasters, national security concerns, and other events. Maintained by the Department of Energy, the reserves are stored in caves created in salt domes along the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana. There are approximately 605 million barrels of sweet and sour oil on the reserve.
The Biden administration has argued that the oil supply has not kept pace with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic, and the reserve is the right tool to help alleviate the problem.
The decision comes after weeks of diplomatic negotiations and the release will be taken in parallel with other countries including India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, major energy consumers.
The US Department of Energy will make oil available from the Strategic Oil Reserve in two ways; 32 million barrels will be released in the coming months and will return to the reserve in the years to come, the White House said. Another 18 barrels will be part of an oil sale that Congress previously authorized.