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Dipping into oil reserves could be more about political gain than cutting gas prices

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BATON ROUGE - Drivers lined up at pumps at Costco's Warehouse in Baton Rouge Friday because it's where you can find some of the cheapest gas in the region.

"$3.59, you can't beat that nowhere else," one driver at the gasoline pumps said.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday he will release 180 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserves to try to help lower the cost of gas.

"It may have some impact, but really the major impact he could have done, was just allow us to drill more," Earl Robnett said.

This is the third time President Biden has tapped into the reserves. Dr. Greg Upton with LSU's Center for Energy Studies says this latest release has already led to lower prices for gas stations, but that isn't reaching consumers just yet.

"Prices before the release, wholesale prices, have declined somewhere in the range of about 14 cents a gallon," Upton said.

And some are saying with the midterm elections coming up later this year for the U.S. House and Senate, releasing the oil from the strategic reserves might just be a political move and will not do much for what you pay at the pump.
"Having some action that would relieve that price for consumers could be a politically advantageous thing to do," Dr. Upton said.
Upton also says this move by the president may be more about perception.
"Even before the announcement of the release of the strategic oil reserves, oil markets were already anticipating prices were already going to be reduced this year," Upton said.
Upton says gas prices were predicted to drop more than 50-cents a gallon this year before the president's announcement.
And even though the release of more oil is expected to drive down gas prices even more, some of these drivers say the move was way overdue.
"It should have been done 5 or 10 years ago," a driver at a Costco gas pump said.
Easing pain at the pumps may be on the way, but it might not be low or fast enough for these drivers.


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