A group of Democratic Senators has called on President Joe Biden to reimpose a ban on crude oil exports as the administration struggles to contain retail fuel prices.
"In light of these pressing concerns, we ask that you consider all tools available at your disposal to lower US gasoline prices. This includes a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports," the legislators, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Sen. Jack Reed, among others, said in a letter, as cited by CNN.
Even so, the senators blamed the higher gas prices at OPEC's door, saying the organization "purposefully manipulate[d] gas prices" by curbing supply. President Biden has repeatedly called on OPEC+ to increase the supply of crude oil to international markets in order for U.S. retail fuel prices to go down. He has stopped short of accusing the cartel of deliberately manipulating the latter prices by withholding supply.
"As the United States work[s] to boost the development of clean and renewable energy over the long-term, we must ensure that Americans are able to afford to fill up their cars at the pump in the meantime," the Democratic senators wrote in the letter, as cited by The Epoch Times.
"In our home states," the signatories also wrote, "high gasoline prices have placed an undue burden on families and small businesses trying to make ends meet, and have proven especially burdensome as our constituents continue to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The administration has said that various options for addressing rising gas prices were on the table, including drawing from the strategic petroleum reserve to add supply to the market. The success of such a move is questionable, according to experts—the oil in SPR is mostly sour crude, which is not refiners' favorite. What's more, the draw would need to be quite significant to make a difference in price trends.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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