Unless you live under a rock, or have been high for 11 months, you will be well aware of two things: filling up your car (or grocery shopping) has never cost you more money and the president seems completely unable to do anything about it.
'X' marks the spot in the chart above - as gas prices (et al) have soared, President Biden's approval rating has plummeted, and while The White House keeps telling Americans that it has lots of "tools" (to deal with near record high gasoline prices), it appears in reality their options are limited.
As we detailed earlier, the two main options being discussed: releasing oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and/or instituting a ban on US crude exports; are both expected (by experts) to result in higher oil/gasoline prices (and only provide very brief, if any, relief at the pump).
Well now we know there is/was a third option being considered...
The South China Morning Post reports that President Biden asked President Xi, during their virtual meeting overnight, to release China's oil reserves as part of an economic cooperation pact.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the US has asked China to release oil reserves to help stabilise soaring international crude oil prices.
The issue was also broached during a phone conversation between Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken two days earlier.
"One of the pressing issues for both sides is energy supply," the person said, which made us wonder just what China would want to give up some of that 'supply' for to help out its arch-competitor on the global hegemon stage?
SCMP reports that "currently, the energy departments from both sides are negotiating the details,” the person said, adding that China is open to the US request but has not committed to specific measures yet, citing the need to consider its domestic consumption needs.
We find that very hard to believe as it merely sounds like yet anothe China nod-and-plod as they commit to nothing.
As if confirming that belief, SCMP reports that Wang Yongzhong, a senior energy researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a Beijing-based governmental think tank, said that the current crude price of around US$80 per barrel does not necessitate China’s immediate release of strategic reserves.
“From a technical perspective, it’s not the time for China to do so. But the US indeed has the motivation because of its high inflation."
So now China really knows how desperate America is?
Additionally, although China has built a strategic oil reserve in the past 14 years, estimates suggest that China‘s crude reserve is equivalent to only about 40-50 days of its imports, compared to the US size of 90 days of consumption.
So why would China 'help' the US?
The big question - obviously - is what did President Biden offer in return for this 'favor' from China?
Quid pro quo?
Does this kind of "political lobbying" reach impeachment-level actions? And what exactly is the US SPR for if not for this (ignoring the fact that, as we detailed previously, a modest SPR release would do little to help the average joe filling up his tank, and in fact could make it worse). Did Biden just tell China just how exposed he is domestically, politically?
Make America China-Dependent Again?