U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a possible move to reduce gasoline prices in the United States, after OPEC+ ignored on Thursday calls for putting extra barrels on the market, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Bloomberg on Friday.
"The SPR is certainly on the table as an option. The president will have more to say about that," Secretary Granholm said when asked what America can do now to reduce gasoline prices.
The SPR is the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, and it currently holds around 600 million barrels of crude.
"The Biden Administration is very concerned about the price at the pump," Granholm added.
On Thursday, the OPEC+ group decided to continue easing the collective oil production cuts by just 400,000 barrels per day next month, ignoring calls from the United States and other major oil-consuming nations to open the taps and tame the price rally. The rationale for keeping a cautious approach seems to be assessments from OPEC+ experts that Q4 would see a smaller market deficit than expected earlier and that the balance would tip into surplus next year.
Days before that, President Biden said at the G20 meeting in Rome that the refusal of OPEC+ in recent weeks to increase crude oil production is affecting America's working class.
"I do think that the idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is — is — is not — is not right," President Biden said on Sunday.
The oil price rally, the still strong U.S. gasoline demand even after Labor Day, and falling gasoline inventories across the country have pushed U.S. gasoline prices to a 7-year high in recent weeks.
As of November 5, the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.421, according to data from AAA.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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