With gas prices topping $4 per gallon in some places around New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the president to tap into the nation's fuel reserve to help consumers during what's expected to be a busy holiday travel season.
The Senate Majority Leader says using the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve would ward off any supply and demand issue that has spiked prices amid the pandemic, and it would lower prices at the pump immediately. However, it won't be a long-term fix.
"The reserve is not a long term solution. It should only be used in emergencies," Schumer said during his news conference Sunday at a gas station in New York City.
The Democrat said the emergency fuel reserved has only been used three times in the past: in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and in 2011 when there were crude oil disruptions.
Any release of reserves would only end up satisfying a small portion of the demand. At this point, experts say the nation is at the mercy of the global energy markets.
Analysts warn that gas prices will remain elevated due to high crude oil prices, but shorter days could reduce demands.
Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, says “drivers may head straight home from work to avoid the darkness rather than tack on side trips for shopping or errands.”
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.41, down a penny from last week. Drivers were paying $2.12 a gallon on average a year ago at this time.