United States: Biden talks with energy companies to lower fuel prices, sources say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has spoken to energy companies as it plans to use strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) to drive down fuel prices and support long-term demand for producers, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The talks, which involve once again tapping into the country’s strategic reserves and setting the timetable for oil buybacks, reflect the government’s desire to fight rising prices at the pump without hurting domestic energy groups.

Rising gasoline prices have helped push inflation to its highest level in decades, a risk for President Joe Biden and Democrats ahead of the November 8 midterm elections. , during which they will seek to retain a majority in the Senate and House of Representatives.

The Biden administration has been talking with energy companies about buying back oil through 2025 to replenish the reserve, the sources said.

The president last March announced a plan to release up to 180 million barrels from the SPR between May and October, the largest drawdown ever from its strategic reserve, to drive down fuel prices.

The United States is also preparing to release about 40 million additional barrels of oil from its strategic reserve, which could be announced soon, a third source said.

“The administration has a small window before the midterm elections to try to bring fuel prices down, or at least show it is trying,” said a source familiar with the White House deliberations.

The average price of gasoline in the United States reached about $3.89 a gallon on Monday (a gallon is about 3.78 liters), about 20 cents higher than a month ago and 56 cents lower. more than a year ago, according to the AAA automobile association.

The White House and the Energy Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on talks with energy companies.

(Reporting Jarrett Renshaw, Timothy Gardner and Laura Sanicola; French version Diana Mandiá, editing by Kate Entringer)

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