Americans will see lower gasoline prices "shortly," President Joe Biden said after the United States tapped its oil reserves to reduce pricing concerns and risked a conflict with OPEC.
While the president was in Nantucket on Saturday, he tweeted that the US campaign to lower gasoline costs spans the world but will soon reach stations around the country. "It will take time, but you should soon see a decrease in the price of gas where you fill up," he said.
Biden declared this week that he would release 50 million barrels of reserves – joining similar actions by China, Japan, India, South Korea, and the United Kingdom – in response to OPEC and its allies' refusal to increase output. It was a first-of-its-kind coordinated effort to lower prices and loosen OPEC's monopoly on supplies.
Although the movie did not precipitate a steep reduction in crude prices, the decline occurred a few days later, when news of the coronavirus's omicron version caused a market selloff. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the benchmark crude price in the United States, finished 13% down, the most significant decline since April 2020.
OPEC and its allies are increasingly likely to cancel a planned January production rise in the face of the virus and release crude from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR.
Biden faces domestic political pressure to rein in inflation, particularly petrol costs, as Americans battle with price surges while the economy recovers from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Market reaction to the SPR news was modest. Much of the oil will have to be returned to the stockpile by the refiners that purchased it, and other countries' contributions were less than anticipated. After a brief dip, oil prices increased by more than a dollar a barrel following Tuesday's news.