As the country heads into the unofficial start of summer this weekend, the Biden Administration announced Tuesday that it would release 1 million barrels of gasoline from a Northeast reserve, established after Superstorm Sandy, in a bid to lower prices at the pump.

The sale, from storage sites in New Jersey and Maine, will be allocated in increments of 100,000 barrels at a time. According to the Energy Department, this approach will create a competitive bidding process that ensures gasoline can flow into local retailers before the July 4 holiday and be sold at competitive prices.

The sale, however, is expected to spur only a negligible benefit for drivers in the Northeast.

“By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state [region] and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement Tuesday.

Far from a generous and unexpected executive action, the release follows a congressional mandate to sell off the 10-year-old Northeast reserve and then close it. The language was included in a spending deal approved by Congress in March to avert a partial government shutdown.

“It appears that President Biden is very confused considering that he was already required to release the gasoline reserves in a law that Congress passed months ago,” US Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, told Carolina Journal in an emailed statement. “North Carolinians are well aware that President Biden’s disastrous energy policies have caused gas prices to skyrocket over the last four years, just like how his disastrous economic policies have caused record inflation. We need to return to the commonsense energy policies of President Trump that put America on the path to energy independence.”

While Congress mandated the move, the timing may be telling, given the fact that President Joe Biden’s poll numbers continue to fall in his bid for re-election in November. In many polls, including a new Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll, former President Donald Trump leads Biden in seven key battleground states, including North Carolina (49% to 42%).

Jon Sanders, Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life at the John Locke Foundation said the move shows that Biden is cognizant of the political implications of high gasoline prices amid all the other price woes Americans have faced under his administration, including food, electricity, housing, and taxes.

But unfortunately, he says, Biden continues to champion policies known to lead to higher prices. 

“He has boastfully opposed the US oil and gas industry, having taken at last count over 200 actions against American oil and gas,” Sanders told CJ. “His administration continues to spend at levels guaranteed to keep inflation rates high and to overregulate in ways to take choices away from people and leave them with higher-priced, lesser desired alternatives. I would urge the president to think about proven ways to help Americans in the long run: limiting spending, cutting rather than rapidly expanding regulation, and letting American oil and gas go about their business of helping power the American economy. There’s not a moment to be lost.”

Phil Flynn, an energy market analyst, told Neil Cavuto on Fox News Wednesday the amount of gasoline they are going to release will “be burned before you have breakfast tomorrow morning” and will only have a short-term impact. He said there are greater concerns to worry about, including the upcoming hurricane season.

“Some of the major predictors of hurricanes are predicting 20 or more storms, and when we start playing with our strategic gasoline reserves when we have a problem, we’re not going to be prepared, and that’s going to lead to potentially major price spikes at a time when we could least afford it,” he said.

Flynn said the Biden Administration is trying to put band-aids on bigger issues with the country ultimately facing the results of a bad energy policy, adding that when the government gets involved with the market, there isn’t a normal demand response.

“Because we lower gasoline prices, refiners are saying, well maybe demand isn’t that strong, we won’t run as hard, we won’t produce as much, and then when the reserves run out, where do you go to then?” he said. “There’s nowhere to go. Only the pain of the American consumer is going to stop that, and that means you get a price spike, they slow down their spending, we get into a recession, stagflation, whatever you want to call it. You’re going to feel the pain.”