The Biden administration will release 1 million barrels — or 42 million gallons — of gasoline in reserve in an attempt to lower gas prices ahead of the Fourth of July.

The Department of Energy said Tuesday that the sale of gas from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, or NGSR, was “strategically timed and structured to maximize its impact on gasoline prices, helping to lower prices at the pump as Americans hit the road this summer.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that the move “builds on other actions by President Biden to lower gas and energy costs — including historic releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and the largest-ever investment in clean energy.”

Though the sale will drain the Northeast’s gasoline reserves, it will not tap into the United States’ emergency oil reserves like Biden did in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Below is a look at the state of gasoline and oil reserves in the U.S. — what’s being drained and what’s still available.

Gas reserves

The Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve was established as an emergency stock of gasoline following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The reserve is small, holding 1 million barrels of gasoline in two locations in New Jersey and Maine.

A mandate from Congress as part of the spending bill passed in March requires the Department of Energy to sell the Northeast gas reserve and close it down.

The NGSR will sell the entirety of its gasoline in reserve in 100,000-barrel increments between Memorial Day and July 4, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is laser focused on lowering prices at the pump for American families, especially as drivers hit the road for summer driving season,” Granholm stated. “... We are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most.”

The Associated Press notes that “tapping gasoline reserves” is a move presidents often use to control inflation during an election year. As of Wednesday, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.611, per AAA.

Oil reserves


The NGSR is separate from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR, which stores oil in reserves in four locations along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

The SPR hit a 40-year low after Biden released 180 million barrels of the emergency oil in 2022 in response to the Russia-Ukraine war, according to Bloomberg.

At the beginning of 2022, prior to the massive release of emergency oil, the SPR had nearly 600 million barrels in the reserve.

Though the Biden administration has slowly been refilling the reserve, the SPR is still well below the levels prior to the Russia-Ukraine war, sitting at 367 million barrels as of last week, The Associated Press reported.

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