White House weighing steps to address gas shortages

The White House is discussing options to address fuel and natural gas shortages that have driven prices higher, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiDemocrats ready to put a wrap on dragged-out talks 'Saturday Night Live' flashes back to the 'ghost of Biden past' Unanswered questions remain for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain catastrophe MORE told reporters Wednesday.

“The president has asked his economic team, as they do on any range of issues impacting the public, to continue to discuss what the options are that we can take to address these shortages,” Psaki said at an afternoon briefing.

Psaki noted that there is a natural gas shortage worldwide and said there are a “range” of options for the Biden administration to explore to help address the issue, but she declined to specify what options are currently being discussed. 

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“I’m not in a position yet to outline additional steps we can take,” she said. 

Bloomberg News reported that Biden administration officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Regulators can no longer rubber-stamp expansion of the oil and gas industry MORE, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenIsraeli official says plans to reopen US mission for Palestinians maybe shelved Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Nearly 200 Americans want to leave Afghanistan, State Department tells Congress MORE and Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE met Tuesday night to discuss rising fuel and natural gas prices. 

The meeting was reportedly part of talks among the group of officials, who also include deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo, White House climate advisers Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit White House puts together climate finance strategy MORE and John KerryJohn KerryUS can lead on climate action by supporting developing countries Queen Elizabeth resting 'for a few days' after hospital stay Twenty-four countries say global net-zero goal will fuel inequality MORE, White House economic adviser Brian DeeseBrian DeeseWhite House weighing steps to address gas shortages Environmental activists' email blast disrupted White House communications over two days: report Sinema in Arizona as Democrats try to get spending-infrastructure deal MORE and White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanSaudi prince's 'net zero by 2060' goal comes with intriguing contradictions Sullivan raised normalizing relations with Israel during meeting with Saudi crown prince: report Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE

For weeks, European countries have been facing energy price spikes that have raised utility prices for consumers there. 

Meanwhile, in the U.K., there has also been difficulty getting gasoline for their cars amid a shortage of truck drivers.

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In the U.S., gasoline prices, which dropped to severe lows at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, have been rising throughout the year as the economy turned back on. 

The national average of gasoline prices stood at $3.288 per gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA, up from a low of $1.77 in April 2020 towards the beginning of the pandemic. 

The price of gasoline and fell significantly during the pandemic as people traveled less than normal, and at least part of the global rebound in fuel prices has been attributed to more vaccination and fewer pandemic-related restrictions.

Options the Biden administration could take to address the situation domestically could entail releasing crude oil from the U.S. emergency stockpile or restricting exports to other countries, though the latter could rankle allies in Europe.  

Meanwhile, new data released by the Labor Department on Wednesday showed that consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in the month of September and 5.4 percent over the past year, reflecting sharp increases in food, energy and shelter costs.