Biden releases one million barrels of petrol for July 4 holiday

Joe Biden greets supporters at an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday
Joe Biden greets supporters at an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday - GETTY IMAGES

The US government will release a million barrels of petrol from reserves to reduce the price of fuel for Americans over the July 4 holiday.

The department of energy announced on Tuesday that it would attempt to reduce driving costs for American consumers this summer by increasing supply from a reserve held in northeastern states.

Selling the petrol will close down the Northeastern Gasoline Supply Reserve, which was created in 2014 after Hurricane Sandy left retailers without any fuel to sell.

Joe Biden signed a law in March that mandated the closure of the reserve on the grounds that storing petrol is more expensive than storing crude oil.

Jennifer Granholm, the US energy secretary, said the release would lower fuel prices for American motorists this summer, reducing the cost of summer road trips.

“By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most,” Ms Granholm said on Tuesday.

Both crude oil and petrol prices rose sharply from January to mid-April this year, amid global concerns about political turmoil in the Middle East and a cut in supply by the OPEC group of oil-producing countries.

The prices have fallen in recent weeks after the highest point of speculation about war between Iran and Israel, which exchanged missile attacks on April 13 and April 18.

Mr Biden’s decision comes amid anxiety in his White House team about the price of petrol ahead of November’s presidential election, and the impact of broader inflation on US consumers.

Donald Trump, the US president’s opponent in the election, has repeatedly raised the lower cost of fuel during his presidency as an argument for his re-election.

The million barrels will be sold in New Jersey and Maine and will reach consumers no later than June 30, the department of energy said.

They will be sold in batches of 100,000 barrels, which the US government said would maximise savings passed on to consumers.

Revenues will be received by the US Treasury.