WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden said Thursday his administration is looking for ways to lower gas prices after oil-exporting countries announced plans to cut production by 2 million barrels a day, a move that will likely raise prices at the pump.
"We are looking at alternatives - we haven't made our minds up yet," Biden told reporters at the White House.
Biden also said he doesn't regret his trip to Saudi Arabia last July in which he met with the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, despite objections from human rights organizations. The trip was widely seen as an attempt by Biden to get the Saudis to ramp up oil production to lower gas prices.
Biden said the trip was about diplomatic issues in the Middle East and Israel, but that OPEC's decision was nonetheless "a disappointment and says that there are problems."
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The OPEC+ alliance of oil exporting countries said its decision to cut oil production was based on the "uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks."
Oil is trading well below its summer peaks because of fears that major global economies such as the U.S. or Europe will sink into recession due to high inflation, rising interest rates and energy uncertainty over Russia's war in Ukraine.
With an uptick in demand and refinery issues, U.S. gas prices were already trending higher in recent weeks. The average price of a gallon of gas Thursday was $3.86.
Brian Deese, who heads the White House National Economic Council, said Wednesday the Biden administration is calling on U.S. energy companies to keep bringing pump prices down by closing the gap between wholesale and retail gas prices so that American consumers can pay less at the pump.
The administration will also consult with Congress on additional tools and authorities to reduce OPEC's control over energy prices, Deese said.
Contributing: Jessica Guynn
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden seeking 'alternatives' to help lower gas prices after OPEC cuts