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La. leaders react to Biden’s decision on oil reserve

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:23 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The White House announced it will tap into the Federal Emergency Oil Reserve and put 50 million barrels of oil into the market. But will it have much of an impact?

Traditionally our oil reserves are meant for unexpected shortages in oil or significant natural disasters where oil is needed for recovery. But the White House hopes this will provide some relief for those of us who plan on traveling for the holidays.

By mid to late December, the Biden administration plans to put 50 million barrels of oil into the market.

It’s mostly a symbolic move and it’s unclear if it will even translate to lower prices at the pump. Right now, the average price of gas across the country is about $3.40 per gallon, that’s up 50% from last year. Democrat Congressman Troy Carter said in a statement today he’s “glad to see President Biden is taking this important step to help bring down costs for families in Louisiana and across the country”.

“I feel pretty good about it. I like that we’re trying to do something to bring down the prices. I know a lot of people have been a little upset about it,” said Baton Rouge local Grant Wilkinson.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Americans used on average 20 million gallons of oil per day during September. That means the 50 million barrels the White House wants to use is only equal to about two-and-a-half days’ worth of additional supply.

“I think it’s like filling a bathtub through a straw, I don’t think it’ll have a whole lot of impact and I think it’s more for show than actually any actual effect, that’s my opinion,” said Loyd Daniel, another Baton Rouge local.

Other state Representatives in Washington say although the White House has good intentions, this is not what our reserved oil is for.

“Well, first of all, tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to basically address bad energy policy is an awful precedent. That’s not what our oil reserves were set up for. Secondly, looking at market signals just from today, you’ve actually seen oil prices go up not down,” said Congressman Garret Graves (R).

Sen. John Kennedy (R) says it is the president’s policies on energy that got us to where we are in the first place. Saying that allowing construction of the Keystone pipeline to continue and letting Louisiana drill its own oil again would be a good place to start.

“His policy seems to be let’s destroy American’s energy independence and let’s force America to buy oil from countries that hate us. So those countries that hate us will have more money to buy weapons to try and kills us,” said Sen. Kennedy.

Both Graves and Kennedy say Congress could and should have a say in when the president can use oil from the reserves. But without a majority hold in Washington, there’s almost no chance of that happening. And although this is meant to help ease the cost of traveling during the holidays, there is typically a lag time between gasoline and changes made to oil prices. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what this will bring for everyone during this holiday season.

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