Brown, Reed, Colleagues Urge Biden Administration to Take Aggressive Action to Lower Gas Prices



 

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help alleviate gas prices, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and nine of their colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging the administration to “consider all tools available at your disposal to lower U.S. gasoline prices.  This includes a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports.  We hope you will consider these tools and others to make gasoline more affordable for all Americans.”

“We share the administration’s concerns that the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and others to purposefully manipulate gas prices by constraining supply, as well as the choice of domestic leaseholders and producers to continue to export U.S. petroleum, threaten to send already record prices even higher,” wrote the senators. “Continued U.S. exports and overseas supply collusion could be devastating to many in our states, contributing to higher bills for American families and businesses.”

Crude oil prices represent the biggest factor in terms of the prices that consumers pay at the gas pump.  But the cost of refining, distribution expenses, taxes, and rent for the gas station also influence the price at the pump.

Gas price experts have pointed to a “perfect storm” of factors that have contributed to the recent gas price spike, including: U.S. oil producers slowing production down during the height of the pandemic and laying workers off; COVID-related bottlenecks in the supply chain; OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia are severely limiting petroleum production; extensive hurricane damage to Louisiana refineries; and a downed pipeline from Atlanta to the East Coast.

In addition to Senators Brown and Reed, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Full text of the letter follows:

November 8, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden:

We are writing to express our support for your efforts to help families and businesses across the nation who are struggling to cope with soaring gasoline prices.  We agree with your recent comments at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that as the United States works to boost the development of clean and renewable energy over the long-term, we must ensure that Americans are able to afford to fill up their cars at the pump in the meantime.

According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is the highest it has been since 2014, with an increase of more than $1 per gallon since this time last year.  In our home states, high gasoline prices have placed an undue burden on families and small businesses trying to make ends meet, and have proven especially burdensome as our constituents continue to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We share the administration’s concerns that the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and others to purposefully manipulate gas prices by constraining supply, as well as the choice of domestic leaseholders and producers to continue to export U.S. petroleum, threaten to send already record prices even higher.  Continued U.S. exports and overseas supply collusion could be devastating to many in our states, contributing to higher bills for American families and businesses.

In light of these pressing concerns, we ask that you consider all tools available at your disposal to lower U.S. gasoline prices.  This includes a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports.  We hope you will consider these tools and others to make gasoline more affordable for all Americans.

Please do not hesitate to contact our offices if you have any questions.  We look forward to your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

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