Biden says oil release will ‘ease pain’ of rising US prices

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President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks about plans to combat rising gas prices at the White House on March 31. (AP pic)

AFP 

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden said Thursday that the unprecedented use of US oil stockpiles would “ease the pain” of rising domestic fuel prices following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The measure will pump a million barrels of US government oil a day for six months into the overheated global market in hopes of dampening inflationary shockwaves ripping through the American economy.

“Today I’m laying out a two-part plan, not only to ease the pain that families are feeling right now but to end this era of dependence and uncertainty and to lay a new foundation for true and lasting American energy independence,” Biden said.

He warned the oil industry not “to sit on record profits” during the price surge, adding “no American companies should take advantage of a pandemic or Vladimir Putin’s actions to enrich themselves at the expense of American families”.

“Investing those profits in production and innovation — that’s what they should do. Invest in your customers,” he said.

Struggling with bad poll numbers and November’s looming midterm elections, when Republicans are forecast to take over Congress from the Democrats, the White House is scrambling to show Americans that Biden has a solution to a problem rooted in aftershocks from the Covid pandemic and Putin’s brutal war.