Biden just took a big swing at lowering gas prices ahead of the midterm elections

President Biden;  Gas prices in San Francisco, California on May 20, 2022

President Biden; Gas prices in San Francisco, California on May 20, 2022Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • President Joe Biden is reportedly looking to release an additional 14 million barrels of oil from federal government stockpiles.

  • This latest batch of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could lower creeping gas prices.

  • Lower prices will not only be good for the wallet — they could increase the Democrats’ chances of winning the Midterms.

President Joe Biden is stepping in again to try to stem soaring gas prices as Americans feel the pinch of higher prices and turn their backs on Democrats as the midterm elections near.

According to Reuters, Biden is expected to release an additional 14 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). It’s another attempt to slash gas prices, which have skyrocketed due to a confluence of reduced US oil production and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden’s reported move comes after gas prices began to rise again in late September, another strain on Americans’ wallets as inflation rose to 8.2% and core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, a 40- year high reached.

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Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in early October that the government was not considering new releases of the SPR. But now more seem to be added.

The federal government has already released over 125 million barrels from the reserve, which Treasury Department estimates would reduce gas prices by $0.17 to $0.42 per gallon. According to Reuters, the latest release would fulfill the government’s promise to release 180 million barrels from reserves between May and October. According to Reuters, even more could be added in fiscal 2023.

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The potential move has already rocked the oil market, with commodity prices plummeting on Tuesday. The average gas price is still about 20 cents a gallon higher than a month ago, according to AAA’s gas price tracker, but it’s already down five cents since last week to $3,870. The Energy Information Administration also sees prices down slightly from last week, although prices for those who fill up their cars on the east coast have risen.

Releasing millions of barrels of oil is a smart political move in the face of mounting economic pressures. Voters are increasingly concerned about the state of the economy, and New York Times/Siena College polls show the election results could spell bleak midterms for Democrats. The economy is consistently high on voters’ lists of concerns, and according to the Times, those most worried about it also lean toward Republicans.

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The fate of the midterm elections will determine whether the Democrats can maintain their razor-thin majority, which is far from certain at this point. Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the most prominent voices on the left, said Democrats should focus in part on the economy ahead of the election. If Republicans retake the House, they plan to keep Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and potentially cut funding for programs like Social Security and Medicare.

It remains to be seen whether cutting gas prices — a lingering concern among Americans who still live in a highly car-dependent society — could steer things in the Democrats’ direction.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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