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U.S. Administration Frees Up $385M To Help Households With Energy Bills

The Biden Administration will release over $385 million to states to help Americans with their home energy costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the White House said on Thursday, as President Joe Biden is looking to tame the soaring prices of gasoline and energy amid international prices at multi-year highs.

The latest funding, to be made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), adds to $4.5 billion in the American Rescue Plan for LIHEAP. In total, the U.S. Administration would be providing more than $8.3 billion in LIHEAP assistance to reduce heating and cooling costs for low-income Americans this year, which is the largest investment in a single year since the program was established in 1981, the White House said.

LIHEAP assists eligible low-income households with their heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.

The Administration is scrambling to lower home energy costs and gasoline prices for Americans as international oil prices – the largest factor in determining the price at the pump – hit $100 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Gasoline prices in the U.S. hit a fresh multi-year high in March at over $4.30 per gallon.

The Biden Administration announced at the end of March it would release 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) over six months “to respond to Putin’s price hike at the pump.”

Apart from the massive strategic petroleum release—which analysts say will not help solve the structural deficit in the oil market with insufficient investments in recent years—the U.S. Administration announced earlier this month that the Environmental Protection Agency would issue an emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline – a higher-ethanol containing gasoline typically banned in the summer – to be sold during this summer “in order to increase fuel supply.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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