Retail gasoline prices in the United States hit an all-time high this week, with the national average at $4.351 per gallon, GasBuddy's Patrick DeHaan said on Twitter on Monday.
According to AAA, the national average as of the end of day Monday stood at $4.328 per gallon. A year ago, the national average for gasoline was $2.962 per gallon.
U.S. gasoline prices have been on the rise for several months now as demand rebounded strongly after the end of Covid lockdowns while production was slow to catch up.
In a bid to rein in prices, the Biden administration announced two oil releases from the strategic petroleum reserve – one in November last year and another one this March.
The one in November totaled 50 million barrels but failed to move prices beyond a short-lived decline immediately after the announcement.
When the White House announced a 180-million-barrel release in response to soaring oil and fuel prices in March, prices did decline for a short while, but, yet again, the announcement failed to have any sustained effect on retail fuel rates.
Analysts warned on both occasions that the SPR release would not have the desired effect for various reasons, such as the type of crude to be released versus the types of crude used by refiners to produce fuels. Also, they said, traders had already priced in the release, and it would not affect benchmark oil prices on which fuel prices are based.
Then, last week, the Biden administration announced plans to buy 60 million barrels of crude, taking bids this autumn.
"As we are thoughtful and methodical in the decision to drawdown from our emergency reserve, we must be similarly strategic in replenishing the supply so that it stands ready to deliver on its mission to provide relief when needed most," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, as quoted by Reuters.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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