Biden Will Release 1 Million Barrels of Gasoline To Lower Prices at Gas Pumps

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 22, 2024

President Joe Biden’s administration recently revealed that they will release one million barrels of gasoline from a Northeast reserve in an effort to lower prices at gas pumps this summer.

This move comes as many Americans will start to drive more over the summer — and may have to pay more at the gas pumps to do so. However, with this decision, the White House has claimed that they are helping Americans save money during their summer travels.

Gas From the Northeast

These one million barrels will all come from storage sites located in Maine and New Jersey. They are a part of a reserve that was created after Superstorm Sandy.

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According to the Biden administration, 100,000 barrels of gas will be released at a time. The release of these increments will help gasoline flow into local gas stations and potentially help lower gas prices.

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Creating a Competitive Bidding Process

The Energy Department has also said that the release of one million gas barrels will help fuel a competitive bidding process.

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A close-up of prices at a gas pump.

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This process will then ensure that local retailers will get this gasoline before the summer holidays, such as July 4. This gasoline addition to the market will also help make prices more competitive.

Lowering Prices

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Energy Secretary, has stated that this move was done by the Biden administration to help lower prices for average Americans.

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Jennifer Granholm standing in front of a podium and microphone outside.

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“The Biden-Harris administration is laser-focused on lowering prices at the pump for American families, especially as drivers hit the road for summer driving season,” Granholm stated. “By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and Northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most.”

Will Gas Prices Truly Drop?

According to AAA, Americans are now paying about $3.60 per gallon. This is about 6 cents more than what people were paying one year ago.

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A person putting gasoline into their car by using a gas pump at a gas station.

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Americans are always ready to see gas prices drop further. However, will the Biden administration’s move actually result in Americans paying less at the gas pumps? Some analysts disagree with the White House’s assessment.

How Gas Prices May Be Impacted

GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan has explained that releasing gas from the Northeast reserve might not have any impact at all on what Americans are paying around the nation.

A close-up of the price of gas at a gas pump.

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However, De Haan did state that those in the Northeast might experience a “slight downward pressure on prices.”

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Northeast Reserve Drama

Biden’s move to release 1 million barrels of gas from the country’s Northeast reserve comes after Congress has passed a mandate that will lead to the reserve being sold off and then fully closed.

A close-up of the U.S. Capitol dome seen at night.

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This mandate was passed in March. However, presidents can tap gasoline reserves without congressional approval. This can be done by presidents when attempting to control inflation — an issue the White House is struggling with.

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Biden’s Past Gas Moves

This isn’t the first time Biden has worked alone to release gas to try to lower prices for Americans. After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Biden drained much of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Joe Biden speaking into a microphone with a gas prices sign in the back.

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This led to many Republicans bashing Biden for using up much of this gas. The reserve dropped to the lowest level seen in the U.S. since the 1980s.

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A Political Move?

Biden also did this during an election year, which caused many conservatives to claim that he was playing a political game. They stated that this reserve was only supposed to be used for national emergencies.

A close-up of a green gas pump in a white car.

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This same accusation could be used in Biden’s recent gas moves, as the president is currently in a tough race against former President Donald Trump for the White House.

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U.S. Gas Reserves

Since 2022, Biden has made efforts to ensure the reserve is filled back up once again. So far, the reserve has about 367 million barrels of oil.

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While this is a massive amount, it’s still lower than what the reserve had before Russia invaded Ukraine. Regardless, this reserve is still considered the world’s largest emergency crude oil supply.

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The Creation of a New Reserve

As for the Northeast reserve, this was created by former President Barack Obama — a move that was criticized by Republicans, as they stated that gas stockpiles can only be created by Congress.

A close-up of a gas pump in a red car.

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A later report confirmed that this reserve wouldn’t necessarily provide any relief to the nation if the country was suffering from a severe gas shortage.

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U.S.’s Odd Gas Moves

De Haan has also stated that the creation of this reserve was odd, at the very least. Because gas has a shelf life, it has to be frequently moved and roasted. No other country in the world has an emergency stockpile because of this reason — other than the U.S.

A gas station seen at night with cars driving past.

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When speaking about the Northeast reserve, De Haan stated, “As an analyst, this reserve never really made a whole lot of sense to have.”

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