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After fuel reserve release, when will gas prices drop? ODU Economics expert weighs in

The price per gallon of gas in Virginia, on average, is more than a dollar higher than this time last year.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It will take weeks for the United States' fuel reserve release to reflect in pricing at the gas pumps, experts say.

“The answer is no, there isn’t going to be this immediate reduction at the pump of 20, 30 or 40 cents at the gallon," Robert Mcnab said, an economics professor at Old Dominion University.

This week, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of oil from its petroleum reserve, in a move to help combat rising gas prices. But these changes, according to Mcnab, won't be felt for several weeks. 

“You’re not going to see wild swings at the pump tomorrow. You might see 5-10 cents in a couple weeks," Mcnab told 13News Now.

The oil that the government is tapping into is not the exact same oil consumers will get at the gas pumps. The oil needs to be refined and sold, a process that will take several weeks before the increased supply is reflected in local gas stations. 

According to Mcnab, the high gas prices are a sign that the economy is rebounding from the COVID pandemic, but that the actions of one country can't singlehandedly influence global gas prices. 

Other world powers such as Britain and Japan have committed to taping into their fuel reserves as well. 

"All that gas needs to be circulated throughout the country, it takes a while for that gas to travel through the pipelines," said Ryan Adcock with Tidewater AAA.

According to Tidewater AAA, this is coming at a time when the number of travelers is inching closer to where they were pre-pandemic. 

"Getting to about 5%, to pre-pandemic travel levels in 2019," Adcock said.

The price per gallon of gas, on average, is more than a dollar higher than this time last year.