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Schumer urges Biden to tap petroleum reserve to ease fuel prices

A customer refuels a car at a gas station in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer urged President Joe Biden to tap the U.S. government’s reserves of emergency fuel to help lower gasoline prices.

“Consumers need immediate relief at the gas pump, and so I am urging the administration to approve fuel sales from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Schumer, a Democrat who is New York’s senior senator, said at a news conference Sunday.

Biden, whose popularity has dropped, in part, as many Americans blame him for failing to contain inflation, has hinted he may take actions aimed at taming fuel prices. A top aide declined to say on Sunday whether the president would tap the SPR.


“The president has made clear that all options are on the table,” Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said on CNN. “We’re monitoring the situation very carefully.”

Gasoline prices at a seven-year high, along with surging costs for shelter, food and vehicles, have contributed to a spike in inflation. The consumer price index increased 6.2% in the 12 months through October, the fastest annual pace since 1990, according to Labor Department data released last week.

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