- U.S. president says pump prices already falling for consumers
- Biden says global petroleum releases he led are working
President Joe Biden said U.S. drivers are beginning to see lower prices at gasoline pumps, but that China has not yet participated in a global release of oil reserves his administration has tried to coordinate.
“Since the end of October, the average weekly price of gasoline on the wholesale market — that’s what you sell to the gas stations — has fallen around 10%,” Biden said in remarks at the White House on Friday. “These savings are beginning to reach Americans and should pick up in the weeks ahead. And that can’t happen fast enough.”
The average national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.37 as of Dec. 2, according to automobile club AAA. That’s a decrease of almost 3 cents from a week ago when the price was averaging $3.397, according to AAA data.
Biden credited large oil-consuming nations’ releases from strategic reserves, but said China had not yet participated.
“I brought together other countries — India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom — who all agreed all agreed to join me in releasing additional oil from their reserves,” he said. “China may very do well do more as well. They haven’t done it yet.”
The U.S. announced last month it planned to release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in concert with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. — in an unprecedented, coordinated attempt by the world’s largest oil consumers to tame rising oil costs.
Since then the price of oil has dropped because of concern about the new omicron variant of Covid-19.
Oil prices suffered one of the largest ever one-day plunges on Nov. 26, crashing more than 11% as the emergence of the variant sent fear through market that renewed lock downs will hurt global demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.32 to $67.99 a barrel as of 11:30 a.m. in New York.
Gasoline futures have dropped 22% in New York after peaking in late October at $2.5168 a gallon. The Nymex futures contract represents unfinished gasoline that is blended with additives such as ethanol before being distributed to service stations.
The wholesale price change is 20% since it’s recent high in late October as well. Crude is down 21%.
Biden has also asked the Federal Trade Commission to look at whether anticompetitive behavior in the industry is keeping gasoline prices higher than they should be.
— With assistance by Ari Natter, and Michael Jeffers
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