U.S. President Joe Biden has not ruled out using export restrictions to ease soaring domestic fuel prices, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Tuesday.
Asked if the United States was considering restricting petroleum exports to ease fuel prices, Granholm said "I can confirm the president is not taking any tools off the table."
Granholm was speaking to reporters during a tour of the Bayou Choctaw salt dome, part of the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve system where emergency stockpiles of crude oil are stored.
The Biden administration has been struggling to combat surging inflation, including record pump prices, driven by rising demand since the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply disruptions since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The rising costs are seen as a major vulnerability to Biden's fellow Democrats leading into the November midterm elections.
So far, the administration has announced record-sized releases of crude oil from the SPR over the coming months, and is mulling other options, including a release from emergency diesel stockpiles and the lifting of anti-smog regulations on gasoline to make the fuel more available.
The Energy Department officially announced on Tuesday a sale of 40.1 million barrels from the SPR, including up to 7.1 million barrels from Bayou Choctaw, as part of the administration's announcement in March to release 1 million barrels of oil a day for six months.
The SPR is offering up to 39 million barrels of sour crude, which is higher in sulfur, and 1.1 million barrels of sweet crude. It plans to deliver the sour crude from July 1 to August 15 and the sweet crude from June 21 until June 30.