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Cows groupedwhile black pump jack works beside them on gas-oil well. Photo Susan Vineyard/Getty Images

The Trump administration is weighing whether to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to moderate gasoline prices ahead of the midterm elections, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Why it matters: The move would represent a remarkable use of the stockpile for political purposes, given that there's currently no crude oil supply shortage or emergency. And gasoline prices, while higher than in recent years, remain well below levels routinely seen in periods between 2010 and 2014, when they were frequently far in excess of $3 per gallon and at times neared $4.

By the numbers: The nationwide average gasoline price is currently $2.89 per gallon, compared to $2.26 at this time a year ago, according to AAA.

  • Per Bloomberg, no decisions have been made, but options under review envision a release of up to 30 million barrels, or even more if coordinated with other nations. The reserve currently holds around 660 million barrels of oil.

Quick history: "The oil stockpile, which was created in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo sent prices skyrocketing and forced Americans to ration gasoline, is mainly meant to be used in emergencies. But it has been tapped in the past to bring down domestic gasoline prices, such as by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, as well as to fund unrelated domestic legislation," Bloomberg reports.

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."