The announced release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the equivalent of about two-and-a-half days of U.S. demand. The reserves were put aside in case of an emergency, such as a war or a natural disaster. The move to release them now is aimed at reducing high gasoline prices., but there were other answers to easing prices at the pump.

The Biden administration could have temporarily suspended or reduced federal taxes on gasoline and urged states to do the same on state taxes. Some of the lost revenues could have been recaptured by temporarily hiking taxes on cigarettes, liquor and wine (not on food) and on other consumer items deemed luxury or non-essential. The result: lower gas prices but preservation of the nation’s oil reserves for a real emergency.

FRANK T. CSONGOS

Fairfax, Va.

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