On Tuesday’s “CNN Newsroom,” White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein stated that President Joe Biden’s plan to control gas prices is engaging “in diplomatic measures” to get oil-producing companies to follow their commitments, releasing oil reserves as needed, and using regulation to ensure consumers aren’t abused and price decreases are passed along.
Co-host Victor Blackwell asked, “A gallon of regular now up to $3.46 on average, a new seven-year high, up more — it’s up a dollar, almost, from a year ago. The president ordered release of 50 million barrels from the reserve. That was back in November, I believe it was, hit the market in December. OPEC is not ramping up increases to the desires of the U.S. What is the plan to control gas prices? This is something that’s hitting people every single day.”
Bernstein responded, “A three-part plan coming from President Biden, who, first of all, starts out by being very clear about precisely the stressors you just mentioned. Anyone — and that’s most of us — who’ve had to fill up their tank understands what you’re talking about. Number one, we are engaging internationally, both with oil-producing and oil-consuming countries. In terms of oil-producing countries, we want them to live up to their supply commitments, and we’re engaged in diplomatic measures to make that happen.”
He added, “[O]il-consuming countries have strategic reserves, and the last time we released 50 million barrels, many of which are still in train, by the way, the price of gasoline — it wasn’t just the strategic release, but it helped, the price of gasoline actually fell by ten cents a gallon.” And that another release “is certainly an option that can be put on the table as needed.”
Bernstein concluded, “Finally, we’ve got to protect consumers from any abuse and the president is making sure that every legal and regulatory authority we have is going to be tapped to make sure that any price gains are being — any price decreases are being passed along to consumers. We’re seeing very high profitability in these oil companies, lots of stock share buybacks. This president wants to make sure that in a period of such strong demand, that some of those benefits are being passed along to consumers, and he will look at the regulatory authorities to make sure that happens.”
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