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Trump Weighs Drastic Measure to Lower Gas Prices Ahead of Midterms

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Less than four months from the midterm elections, the Democratic Party enjoys an eight-point lead in a generic congressional vote, and Donald Trump’s approval rating hovers around 42 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s weighted polling average. Meanwhile, the average price of unleaded gasoline sits at $2.89 per gallon, up 63 cents from one year ago. Now the Trump administration is considering tapping into the country’s strategic reserve of crude oil to prevent that number from rising any higher before November.

“No decision has been made to release crude from the 660-million-barrel stockpile, known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but options under review range from a 5-million-barrel test sale to a larger release of 30 million barrels, said the people who requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations,” reports Bloomberg’s Ari Natter. “An even larger release is possible if it were to be coordinated with other nations.”

As Natter observes, Trump has voiced his frustration with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in characteristic fashion—by railing against the intergovernmental petroleum group on Twitter.

“The oil stockpile, which was created in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo sent prices skyrocketing and forced Americans to ration gasoline, is mainly meant to be used in emergencies,” continues Natter. “But it has been tapped in the past to bring down domestic gasoline prices, such as by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, as well as to fund unrelated domestic legislation.”

Read the full report at Bloomberg.

Jacob Sugarman
Jacob Sugarman is the acting managing editor at Truthdig. He is a graduate of the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism whose writing has appeared in Salon, AlterNet and Tablet, among other…
Jacob Sugarman

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