President Biden taps into oil reserve, experts say gas prices will drop soon

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Gas prices in the Midstate remain high, but there could be some relief soon. That’s after President Biden announced he’ll be tapping into the nation’s strategic oil reserve.

As many people plan their thanksgiving getaways, they’re noticeably paying more at the pump recently.

“It’s not easy on the wallet but you know we gotta deal with it,” Mijo Samardzic said.

Rob McConlogue just drove up to Harrisburg from Mississippi.

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“They’re about 50 cents higher up here right now so it hits you a little harder coming north, but obviously we’re a little closer to the refineries down there,” McConlogue said.

To help, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he’s releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve.

“It will take time but before long you should see your price drop when you fill up the tank,” President Biden said.

The emergency supply has only been used a handful of times in recent decades, but the White House says right now it’s top priority with demand outweighing supply.

“America has reopened and along with it, gasoline demand has surged. The problem is that oil production has not rebounded enough, it’s been chasing demand,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said.

Experts say news of the announcement alone will likely be enough to prompt a short-term drop in oil prices.

“Fingers crossed they come down and we can figure it out so people can visit their families for Christmas at least since they’ll be coming down mid-December, fingers crossed,” Autumn Sleva said.

It will take about two weeks for this emergency supply to enter the markets — and for stations around the country to lower costs.

“While our combined actions will not solve the problem of high gas prices overnight, it will make a difference,” Biden said.

Other countries including China and India will release their own reserves in coordination with the U.S. the world tries to recover from the pandemic and the ongoing supply chain issues.

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