U.S. Considers Releasing More SPR Oil to Keep Gas Prices Low, White House Adviser Says

(Reuters) — U.S. President Joe Biden will do what he can to ensure affordable gasoline prices, White House senior adviser John Podesta said at an industry conference on Tuesday, when asked about future releases of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

The Biden administration in 2022 sold 180 million barrels of oil in about six months from the reserve, the largest ever SPR sale, in an attempt to lower gasoline prices after Russia invaded Ukraine.

RELATED: Biden Administration Buys Oil for Emergency Reserve Above Target Price

Republicans slammed the sale, which helped push levels in the reserve to the lowest in about 40 years.

"The president did it (release oil from SPR) before ... and I think he wants to keep the price of gasoline affordable and he will do what he can to make sure that happens," Podesta said at the BNEF Summit in New York.

He stopped short of saying there would be a release from the SPR any time soon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy this month paused its oil repurchase for the SPR due to high oil prices.

The Energy Department has previously said it aims to purchase oil for the SPR at a price of $79 per barrel or below, less than the average of about $95 it received for its 2022 emergency SPR sales.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the administration still wants to buy back oil for the reserve, saying "we want to buy back at a rate that is good for the taxpayers."

Prices have risen over $79 a barrel on fears that the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas could broaden. West Texas Intermediate oil futures CLc1 were little changed at just above $85 a barrel on Tuesday as economic woes offset support provided by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying that the U.S. intends to impose new sanctions on Iran after its unprecedented attack on Israel.

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