President Joe Biden‘s administration announced on Tuesday that it has ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve amid soaring gas prices that continue to squeeze precious pennies out of the pockets of cash-strapped Americans.

“The Department of Energy will make available releases of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices for Americans and address the mismatch between demand exiting the pandemic and supply,” the White House said in a press release.

“The President has been working with countries across the world to address the lack of supply as the world exits the pandemic. And, as a result of President Biden’s leadership and our diplomatic efforts, this release will be taken in parallel with other major energy-consuming nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom,” the announcement continued. “This culminates weeks of consultations with countries around the world, and we are already seeing the effect of this work on oil prices. Over the last several weeks as reports of this work became public, oil prices are down nearly 10 percent.”

Tapping the SPR will be divided into two parts.

First, “32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, releasing oil that will eventually return to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the years ahead. The exchange is a tool matched to today’s specific economic environment, where markets expect future oil prices to be lower than they are today, and helps provide relief to Americans immediately and bridge to that period of expected lower oil prices. The exchange also automatically provides for re-stocking of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over time to meet future needs,” the White House explained.

The remaining “18 million barrels will be an acceleration into the next several months of a sale of oil that Congress had previously authorized,” it said.

Cracking open the country’s secret oil stash is not the only action Biden is taking to lower fuel costs, however.

Last week, Biden asked Lina Khan, the chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, to open an investigation into possible connections between fossil fuel corporations and the ballooning costs of oil.

Prices at the pump have spiked by almost 60 percent over the course of the last year to $3.41 per gallon despite a steady decline in production costs. For Biden, this is a potential red flag.

“Usually, prices at the pump correspond to movements in the price of unfinished gasoline,“ Biden wrote in a letter to Khan. “But in the last month, the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent.”

Biden tasked Khan with looking into whether the oil and gas titans are engaging in unethical or unlawful activity at the expense of American consumers, who are sustaining themselves on razor-thin budgets and stagnant incomes.

“I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct,” the president wrote, requesting that Khan “bring all of the commission‘s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”

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