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Experts weigh in on tapping oil reserves and if it will provide relief at the pump

Florida Gas Pump on 4/1/2022
Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 18:18:14-04

TAMPA, Fla. — People continue to feel the pinch at the pump, with AAA’s national average for Friday sitting at $4.21 per gallon. Experts said a new plan from the White House may provide a little bit of a reprieve when you buy gas, but it may not be enough.

“It’s a lot,” said driver Shelby Ryder. “You just have to re-budget some things and take some things out that you normally would do, maybe going out to dinner and stuff like that.”

Shelby Ryder just moved to Tampa from Clearwater and expressed the frustration felt by most drivers lately.

“This time last year, it was about like $28 or $30. Now, it’s like $45,” said Alexander Semple.

As people face rising prices at the pump, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday a two-part plan the White House said would help ease the financial burden.

“I'm authorizing the release of one million barrels per day for the next six months, over 180 million barrels for the strategic, from the, from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Biden said on Thursday.

“The President in this release, the biggest release in SPR history, is aiming to bridge the gap between supply and demand and offer more supply as demand has continued to go up, and that should help bring prices down,” said Patrick De Haan, the Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.

Gas pump in car
A customer puts a gas pump handle into their car on 4/1/2022 in Florida.

De Haan explained how much relief this move will have on gas prices.

“For now, I would expect that we could see a decline of anywhere from 10 to maybe 25 cents a gallon, but again, we’re in a situation where volatility has been significant over the last couple of weeks, and so that very much could change,” said De Haan.

Dr. Victor Claar, an economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, put into perspective just how much oil we use.

“We probably won’t see much of a change at the pump,” said Claar. “Americans daily consume about 20 or 21 million barrels of oil, and this is going to release one million barrels of oil every day, so about 1/20th of what we normally consume in a given day.”

The White House explained it is also committed to achieving real energy independence, which centers on reducing the dependence on oil altogether.

“I think we’ll probably see elevated prices potentially through the end of the year, though there could be some measure of relief between now and summer and the end of the year,” said De Haan.