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Rep. Demings Praises Release from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

November 23, 2021
Press Release

ORLANDO, FL – Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) praised the announcement that the Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a strategic international strategy to reduce gas prices and bring down costs for the American people. Last week, Rep. Demings called on Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to release oil from the SPR among other actions to bring down costs for Florida families.

Said Rep. Demings, “I'm glad to see the administration taking this important step as we work to bring down costs for Florida families. The bipartisan infrastructure plan that we passed is a long-term investment to bring down costs and strengthen our economy, but families need help now as we move into the winter. This announcement is exactly the kind of move necessary to save Floridians money at the pump, which is why I called for it last week.

“Growing up the daughter of a maid and janitor, we knew that every dollar matters. The price of gas has a direct impact on our ability to make ends meet. Whether caused by price manipulations or supply chain issues, it’s clear that we need to be strong and bold to attack rising prices and save Floridian families money at the pump.”

Background

Wrote Rep. Demings:

“I am writing to you because Florida’s families are facing rising gas prices and we need to take swift action in support of energy policies that will make gasoline more affordable. Particularly ahead of the holiday season, when vaccinated families hope to reconnect after many long months of COVID-19 restrictions, rapid increases in gas prices will have severe consequences for my constituents.

“I strongly request that the administration exercise all options available to bring down the cost of gasoline now. For instance, the United States previously prohibited the export of American crude oil for more than 40 years until that ban was lifted in 2015, before I joined Congress. This meant that domestic production which previously benefitted American families and businesses is now shipped overseas for the express profit of gas and oil companies, but as the expense of the public. I strongly urge you to reimpose a prohibition until American production levels return to their pre-pandemic levels and fuel prices stabilize for American families. I also urge you to release fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as has been done during previous spikes in fuel prices.”

Forbes: “OPEC+ has kept a tight grip on supply since it agreed to its historic production cut deal in May 2020.”

New York Times: “prices at the pump had risen even as the costs of refined fuel had fallen and industry profits had risen…The two largest players in the industry, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, have doubled their net income since 2019…while announcing billions of dollars in plans to issue dividends and buy back stock…drivers would be paying as much as 25 cents less per gallon if the gap between refined fuel costs and gasoline prices at the pump were to return to normal prepandemic levels.”

USA Today: “the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5% over last month – trading at 235.4 Wednesday, compared to 248.64 on Oct. 15 – while gas prices have gone up 3% over the same period.”

Bloomberg, March 2021: “the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries risks over-tightening crude markets by denying supplies just as demand recovers, sending prices too high…Oil prices soared on March 4 when the coalition, contrary to expectations, announced that it would refrain from restarting 500,000 barrels of daily output in April, and that the Saudis would continue to keep another 1 million barrels off-line.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration: “Motor gasoline exports from the United States reached record highs in May, June, and July for each of these months.”

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