“Nobody should hold back supply at the expense of the American consumer, particularly as the recovery from the pandemic continues, and oil producers around the world have the capacity to produce at levels that match demand and reduce the high prices. That is what we are going to continue to convey,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
The Biden Administration is holding talks with oil-producing countries about proposed production increases, while with oil-consuming countries, the U.S. is talking about releases from strategic reserves, Psaki added.
The U.S. announced one release of 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in November in a bid to lower high gasoline prices in a coordinated effort with other major oil-consuming nations.
After a correction due to the initial market panic about the Omicron variant, oil prices returned to rally and have gained around 20 percent since the start of the year. WTI crude prices hit $90 a barrel last week, for the first time since 2014, and sent American gasoline prices higher.
On Wednesday, the national average price of regular gasoline was $3.469 a gallon, AAA data shows—that’s the highest since 2014 and $1 a gallon higher than this time last year.
Apart from talks with oil-producing and oil-consuming nations, the U.S. is “looking at every legal and regulatory authority we have available to ensure consumers are protected,” Psaki said on Tuesday.
“That means responding to any sign of manipulation in the oil commodities markets or gauging [gouging] at the pump,” the press secretary added.