The Biden plan would release a million barrels of oil a day from the reserve

But the price of gas has continued to rise, and the political pressure has not weakened.

Republicans have hammered Mr Biden for weeks and made it clear they intend to use the specter of inflation – including rising gas prices – as a political cudgel against Democrats facing to voters this fall in the midterm congressional elections.

White House officials have repeatedly said they believe inflation is a serious concern, but have argued Republicans are blocking the president’s legislative efforts to cut costs for services such as child care. , health care, education and other basic expenses.

They also accused national oil companies of failing to increase production to meet demand and help relieve price pressure. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, made that point during a briefing for reporters two weeks ago.

“The oil and gas industry right now is getting profits – windfall profits. We’ve seen that,” she said, adding, “Instead of meeting current demand, too many of these companies, at our opinion, make the calculated decision to return money to investors and shareholders through buyouts and dividends, instead of increasing production sufficiently in the short term, which is what we need.

The United States consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day. High energy prices have contributed to high inflation and pushed OPEC Plus, the cartel of oil producers that includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and others, to pump more oil.

Mr. Biden’s release of 50 million barrels barely rattled the market. The world consumes about 100 million barrels per day and prices are set in this global market. When this oil was released, it was done in coordination with other governments around the world, including Britain, India, Japan and South Korea.

The emergency stock is stored in underground caverns in Texas and Louisiana. The reserve was created after the 1973-1974 oil embargo by Arab members of OPEC, and has been operated in emergency situations like the build-up to the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when much of the oil infrastructure along the Gulf of Mexico was damaged.

Clifford Krauss contributed report.

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