With Memorial Day Approaching, White House Moves to Keep Gas Prices Low

May 21, 2024 by Dan McCue
With Memorial Day Approaching, White House Moves to Keep Gas Prices Low
Traffic is steady as vehicles approach Hugh Carey tunnel linking Brooklyn to Manhattan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

WASHINGTON — With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching and the summer driving season just around the corner, the Biden administration announced it will sell 1 million barrels of gasoline from federal reserves to lower prices at the pump for all Americans.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the planned sale from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, which is equivalent to about 42 million gallons, was timed for maximum impact at a time of year when the price of gas at local filling stations typically surges.

“By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most,” Granholm said in a written statement.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the sale builds on other actions the president has taken to lower gas and other energy costs, including his November 2021 decision to sell 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in clean energy.

“While congressional Republicans fight to preserve tax breaks for Big Oil at the expense of hardworking families, President Biden is advancing a more secure, affordable and clean energy future to lower utility bills while record American energy production helps meet our immediate needs,” Jean-Pierre said.

With Tuesday’s announcement, the Department of Energy will sell about 900,000 barrels of gasoline from a storage site in Port Reading, New Jersey, and another 98.824 barrels from a site in South Portland, Maine.

The sale is being held in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Passed in March, the act requires the administration to sell the gasoline this year and close the reserve once the sale is completed.

Department officials said the gasoline is expected to reach retailers and fuel terminals no later than June 30.

Bids are due by May 28 and allocations will be made in quantities of 100,000 barrels.

The gasoline reserve was created in June 2014 to serve as a buffer large enough to enable commercial companies to compensate for the initial impacts of interruptions in supply, but not so large as to dissuade them from maintaining stock levels sufficient to respond to routine disruptions or to recognize that increasing prices are an indicator that more supply is needed.

A 1 million-barrel emergency reserve is enough to give Northeast consumers supplemental supplies for a few days in the event of a hurricane or other disruption, until existing distribution infrastructure could return to full operation.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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