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Biden will announce plans to release 1 million barrels of oil per day for six months in an effort to lower gas prices.
As the U.S. and other NATO countries continue to sanction Russia for its bloody war against Ukraine, Biden will announce the planned release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from U.S. strategic oil reserves in an effort to halt inflation and lower gas prices, the White House said on Thursday.
First reported by Bloomberg, sources close to the White House have alleged that Biden may keep the tap of 1 million barrels of oil flowing for six months, as his approval rating has taken a severe hit due to 40-year high inflation and record-high gas prices across the country.
The White House confirmed the reports to media, adding that Biden will deliver remarks on Thursday detailing his plans to lower gas prices.
According to data from AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas was $4.009 as of March 9—the highest since the 2008 financial crisis.
The U.S. and NATO allied countries have placed unprecedented financial sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Yet, in a global economy, the sanctions have become a double-edged sword as Russia remains one of the top oil producers in the world.
High gas prices hit Black communities hardest
In the U.S., Biden had urged a ramp up in oil production from private companies. Yet, even as oil companies are recording high profits, they’ve indicated their priority is to make money for their investors rather than spend more money to ramp up drilling for consumers.
In his Thursday address, Biden is also expected to call on Congress to impose financial penalties on oil and gas companies that lease public lands but aren’t producing energy to help lower gas prices.
Rising inflation has already been shown to affect some Americans more than others. For instance, a Bank of America report last fall found that inflation disproportionately hurts Black and Latino communities, rural households, and households without a college degree.
Black Americans and other people of color are also more likely to work in poverty-level jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Therefore, each increase in gas prices further hinders their ability to provide for their families.
Seeking to fill the gap, Black pastors and philanthropists have donated gas money to thousands of people from Charlotte, North Carolina to Chicago, IL. Yet, more support is needed as communities are still recovering from a years-long pandemic.
Biden has already twice released oil reserves in recent months with little meaningful impact on gas prices. He announced the release of 50 million barrels of oil in November, in coordination with allied countries. Following the start of the Russian war with Ukraine, Biden released an additional 30 million barrels.
Yet, a barrel of oil currently costs over $100 as opposed to last year’s price of $60.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.