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VERIFY: Will the release of US oil reserves lower gas prices?

President Biden announced that 60 million barrels of reserve oil will be released, but industry experts say it likely won't have a major impact on record gas prices.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many Americans are feeling the pain at the pump with record gas prices in many parts of the U.S. Tuesday following President Joe Biden's ban on Russian oil imports

Biden also announced the U.S. will tap into its oil reserves but many people are wondering if that will actually lower gas prices. On Tuesday, a barrel of oil traded between $120 and $130, about double what it was in December, when a barrel was going for $68 on average. 

During his State of the Union speech, Biden told Americans the U.S. and 30 other countries that make up the International Energy Agency agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves, 30 million of which is coming from the U.S. He said this is just one step in helping lower gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

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Will the release of the 60 million barrels of reserve oil help reduce gas prices? 



No, the release of 60 million barrels of reserve oil will not help reduce gas prices in the long term. 


According to the Library of Congress, the U.S. Consumes an average of 20.6 million barrels of oil a day. Trevino says currently, the United States produces a little more than half of that. 

"Right now, America produces on a good day, between 12 and 14 million barrels of oil," Trevino said. 

If all 60 million barrels from the reserve were exclusively used in America and we were only reliant on that reserve, we would only have enough fuel for three days. 

The Biden administration has tapped into the reserves before. On Nov. 23, they released 50 million barrels from the strategic reserve. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of gas dropped by 2 cents in the following days. By Dec. 6, it only dropped another 3 cents. 

"It was so quick," Trevino said. "They did drop, but then they went right back up."

Trevino believes the same thing will happen this time. He says tapping the reserve may put a small dent in gas prices, but not enough to justify using a stockpile that's meant for emergencies. 

"If we tap into the strategic oil reserve again, we will do nothing but put another Band-Aid on another big wound, and we will only hinder ourselves if we ever got ourselves into a serious emergency here," said Trevino. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.