Ahead of elections, Biden announces steps to reduce gas prices in U.S.

Biden, in a major policy speech, reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for the hike in energy prices in the U.S.

October 20, 2022 02:50 pm | Updated 02:50 pm IST - Washington:

President Joe Biden n Washington. File.

President Joe Biden n Washington. File. | Photo Credit: AP

Ahead of the crucial mid-term polls, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced a slew of measures to lower gas prices, which have been hurting the middle class.

Mr. Biden, in a major policy speech, reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for the hike in energy prices in the U.S..

“When the price of gas goes up, other expenses get cut. That's why I have been doing everything in my power to reduce gas prices since Putin's invasion of Ukraine caused these prices to spike and rattled international oil markets,” he said in a speech.

Mr. Biden said the Department of Energy will release another 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, extending the previously announced release, through the month of December.

He said independent analysts have confirmed that drawdowns from the reserves so far have played a big role in bringing down oil prices. So, we're going to continue to responsibly use that national asset, he said.

Right now, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is more than half full with about 400 million barrels of oil. That's more than enough for any emergency drawdown, he said.

“With my announcement today, we're going to continue to stabilise markets and decrease the prices at a time when the actions of other countries have caused such volatility,” he said.

The U.S., he said, needs to responsibly increase oil production without delaying or deferring the transition to clean energy. He asserted that his administration has not stopped or slowed oil production.

“We're producing 12 million barrels of oil per day. And by the end of this year, we will be producing 1 million barrels a day, more than the day in which I took office. In fact, we're on track for record oil production in 2023,” he said.

Mr. Biden announced a plan to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the years ahead at a profit for taxpayers.

The U.S. government is going to purchase oil to refill the reserve when the prices fall to $70 a barrel. And that means oil companies can invest to ramp up production now with the confidence that they'll be able to sell their oil to the U.S. at that price in the future, he said.

The President also called on oil companies to pass on the savings to the consumers.

“Consider this: In the second quarter of this year, profits at six of the largest - publicly traded oil companies were more than $70 billion. So far, American oil companies are using that windfall of profits to buy back their own stock, passing that money on to their shareholders, not to consumers,” he said.

Mr. Biden asserted that because of the measures that his administration has taken, the price of oil has fallen.

Thanks in large part to the steps we’ve taken this year; the price of oil has fallen by nearly 30% a barrel since mid-June, he said.

Responding to a question, Mr. Biden said his decision was not politically motivated at all.

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