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The U.S. Administration is mulling over whether to temporarily remove the summertime restriction on the sale of the higher-ethanol gasoline varieties in another policy attempt to lower high gasoline prices, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the deliberations.
The U.S. typically restricts the sale of the 15-percent ethanol-gasoline blends during the summer driving season because of concerns that it would increase smog in hot weather. The 10-percent ethanol-gasoline blends are being sold all year round.
Now, as a potential move to reduce high gasoline prices, the Biden Administration is considering temporarily removing the ban on the 15-percent ethanol gasoline, Reuters’ sources said. The higher ethanol content could potentially lead to a lower price of the gasoline because ethanol is now cheaper than straight gasoline out of the refinery.
As of March 31, the national average price of regular gasoline stood at $4.225 per gallon, according to AAA data. This compares with $4.236 a week ago, $3.610 a month ago, and $2.874 at this time last year.
Apart from removing the ban on E15 ethanol, the Biden Administration is also considering a major new release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The release could be the biggest ever – at 180 million barrels over several months, which equals to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) over six months.
Gasoline prices have spiked above $4 per gallon in much of the United States, hitting a fresh high of over $6 per gallon in Los Angeles earlier this month. President Biden recently blamed the gas price rise on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, calling it “Putin’s price hike”, although prices were climbing at U.S. gas stations long before the war in Ukraine began.
This would be a second SPR release in several months after the White House resorted to an SPR release was last November, when it announced it would sell or lease 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to try and alleviate pain at the pump.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.