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To combat sky-high gas, energy prices, U.S. to tap oil reserves

The move will free up 50 million barrels of oil from U.S. emergency holdings.

President Joe Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from America's emergency stockpile on Tuesday in response to soaring gas and energy prices.

The U.S. is coordinating the release, set for December, with international energy giants including China, India and the United Kingdom. The goal is to introduce more oil with the effect of stabilizing the global energy market and alleviating the pressures that high inflation and gasoline prices have placed on American workers.

"American consumers are feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, too, because oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic," the White House said in a statement.

Just its early reports that the United States and international partners were planning to release more oil into the market led to a 10% decline in oil prices, the White House added.

The oil will come from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile of more than 600 million barrels of oil intended to be used in emergency situations, and dispensed over the course of several months.

“As we come out of an unprecedented global economic shutdown, oil supply has not kept up with demand, forcing working families and businesses to pay the price,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “This action underscores the president’s commitment to using the tools available to bring down costs for working families and to continue our economic recovery.” 

About 18 million of the barrels were previously approved by Congress to be released into the market gradually, with Biden's announcement merely speeding up the timeline.

The announcement of the stockpile release comes as Biden continues to grapple with historic rates of inflation, with consumer prices hitting a 31-year high this past October.

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Biden has touted his massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill as a long-term solution to inflationary pressures, despite criticism from Republicans.

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An oil refinery in Big Spring, Texas.