Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Travelers eager for relief at the pumps as US taps petroleum reserve

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BATON ROUGE - Frustrations are rising, along with prices at the pumps.

"The prices, they're terrible. With working and bills and everything, things like that, it's pretty bad," said Alexus Sheppard, a Baton Rouge resident.

According to Gasbuddy, the average price of a gallon of gas in Louisiana is $3.08. Consumers are feeling the pain in their wallets, so much so that staying home for the holidays has become an appealing option.

"I'm not even going to go out of town because of that. I won't even go out of town. I went on an eight-hour trip like a week ago, and it took me like $75-80. And usually I only fill up twice and spend like 40-50," Sheppard said.

Greg Upton with the LSU Center for Energy Studies believes the rising costs are an effect of the COVID pandemic, when less people were on the roads.

"The demand for liquid fuels was way lower. And that put low pressures, downward pressures on prices, and we experienced historical low prices. But as economic activity has come back, this has increased the demand, which has therefore increased the prices. And so that's what you're seeing today."

To help with the rising costs at the pump, the Biden Administration announced it had 50 million barrels of oil released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

We could see the effects, in the next few months.

"When you just look at the volume of oil that could be released from the strategic petroleum reserve, it's about three days of US production. It takes about two weeks for that to actually hit the market," Upton said. "And there's a chance for whenever the news does come out that this is indeed going to occur, it could have downward pressure on prices in the short term. But it's unlikely that that's going to persist to impacting prices into the months and years to come."


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