BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Drivers in Florida and across the country could soon feel some relief at the gas pump after President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to bring down energy costs.
What You Need To Know President Joe Biden orderd the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to help bring down gas prices
While experts say the move will help, the caution that it will not bring down gas prices overnight
Nationwide gas prices currently average about $3.40 a gallon, more than double the price a year ago Related: Florida gas prices jump 9 cents in one week The move is an effort to bring down rising gas prices. Gasoline prices nationwide are averaging about $3.40 a gallon, more than double their price a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association.
“This week, millions of Americans … are likely to be hitting the road, reuniting with their loved ones in cities in towns all across America,” Biden said Tuesday at the White House.
For people like Brevard County resident Jeremy Saglimbeni, any help with the rising cost of gas is welcome in their book.
“I think (this) will lower gas prices, which will help a lot substantially people like me and everyone else on a fixed budget that has to say hey, the cost of gas went up, but I can’t not travel,” he said. “So, it’s a necessary evil kind of thing.”
Saglimbeni, owner of the small business Stellar Sky Systems, said this will especially help those like him who have to pay for gas for personal and business use. The cost can add up quickly, especially when including traveling for the holidays, he said.
“You have to factor the price of fuel in and that’s a big factor when you’re traveling,” he said. “And we have a big family and drive big trucks, so definitely a big thing to consider.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Tuesday that predicting the impact of the release was not easy to do, but she said officials expect gas prices to gradually reach an average of $3.19 per gallon in December and then continue to decline in the following weeks.
“We will be releasing it over a period of time,” she said of the 50 million barrels. “Everybody needs to, I think, be a partner in letting people know that last year was an anomaly, because demand during COVID for gasoline was so low.”
Dr. Sean Snaith, the director of University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting said that while the 50 million barrels may sound like a lot, it only represents a few days’ worth of consumption in the U.S.
He added that it’s about the same, even when factoring in the other global partners that are joining in this effort and that this will take time to have an impact.
“It’s going to take quite a few months before that shows up, as far as you or I can see it when we go to the gasoline station,” Snaith said.
He said the source of the economic strain at gas stations stems from the response to the pandemic.
“Oil prices plummeted as the world was locking down. Travel collapsed, people were forced to stay at home. And with those prices so low, there wasn’t the investment from the oil industry,” Snaith said. “They weren’t putting in new rigs. They weren’t drilling.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.