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White House touts efforts to reduce gas prices ahead of July 4 travel blitz

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday the sale of 1 million barrels of gasoline, making its latest effort to reduce gas prices ahead of the Fourth of July travel blitz.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Petroleum Reserves will release the 1 million barrels — about 42 million gallons of gasoline — from a Northeast reserve to drive down prices at the pump before what’s expected to be record-breaking travel for the July 4 holiday, the DOE said in a statement.

“Gas prices have come down nearly 20 cents in the last two months, but we know there is more to do. This release will help lower prices at the pump, building on other actions by President Biden, including historic releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, record energy production, and the largest-ever investment in clean energy,” National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard wrote Tuesday.

Brainard took a swipe at Congressional Republicans Tuesday, arguing they have yet to offer “a signal proposal to lower costs,” while Biden is “fighting every day for hardworking families.”

More than 70 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more the week of July 4, AAA predicted last week. This is 5 percent higher than the number of travelers during last year’s Fourth of July and up 8 percent from 2019’s numbers, the company said.

“By releasing this reserve ahead of July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday.

Contracts were awarded to five companies including BP; George E. Warren, LLC; Vitol, Freepoint Commodities and Irving Oil. The barrels were sold at an average of $2.34 per gallon.

The release from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve was expected to be complete by Monday and will hit the market shortly after, per the DOE.

The sale will ensure gasoline supply for local retailers in a variety of states including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Gas prices started this summer lower than usual, with experts citing the mild demand and cheaper factors as reasons for the moderate costs.

The White House’s latest move to drive down gas prices comes ahead of the 2024 presidential election, in which President Biden is vying for a second Oval Office term. While presidents have little or nothing directly to do with gas prices, they are often credited or blamed for it by voters.

Prices on Monday sat at a national average of $3.49, slightly higher than last week’s average of $3.45, according to AAA. This is about 5 cents lower than the national average last year, when prices were about $3.54.

Source: The Hill

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