“If you watched the news lately, you might think that the shelves in all of our stores are empty across the country, and that parents won’t be able to get gifts for their kids this holiday season,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal: For the vast majority of the country, that’s not what’s happening.”
The president touted the measures his administration has taken to speed up operations and extend operating hours at major Southern California ports as well as make it easier to move goods more quickly.
Overall, Biden said “the shelves will be stocked” and that the US is “heading into the holiday season in a very strong shape.”
Biden said the CEOs he met earlier this week “reported that their stocks are up, shelves are full and they’re ready to meet consumer demand on holidays.” The president hosted a roundtable at the White House with CEOs from Best Buy, Food Lion, Etsy, Walmart, Mattel, Samsung, CVS Health, and others.
In October, in response to a buildup of container ships off the West Coast, the president announced that the Port of Los Angeles would move into 24/7 service, bringing it in line with operations at the Port of Long Beach, which was already operating 24/7. These two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the United States.
“Over the past month, the number of containers left on sidewalks blocking movement into those stores has been for more than eight days,” Biden said. “Now it’s down 40%, which means they’re heading to store shelves more quickly.” “This is an incredible success story.”
The president also spoke of rising consumer prices frustrating Americans across the country and said his administration is “using every tool available” to address the issue. The White House is facing mounting pressure to cut ultra-high prices at the pump that are contributing to the biggest rise in inflation in decades.
“This is a global challenge, a natural by-product of the global economy that the pandemic has shut down as life returns,” Biden said, referring to other countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada with the same problem.
The president said, “prices are still not in line with the return of the world. But as we continue to overcome these obstacles, price pressures will lessen.”
He said the US release of emergency oil reserves, which is being coordinated with several other major countries, “won’t solve high gas prices overnight, but it does make a difference.”
Over the past month, he said, “probably due in part to anticipation of this action, we’ve seen oil and gasoline prices in the wholesale markets drop significantly.”
“In fact, since the end of October, the average weekly price of gasoline in the wholesale market has fallen by about 10%. That’s a 25 cents a gallon reduction. Those savings should reach the American people soon, and they can’t happen as quickly,” Biden said. sufficient.”
Biden said the Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the largest release from the reserve in US history. This is being done in coordination with several other countries, including China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
This story has been updated with additional information.