HOUSTON, July 5 (Reuters) - More than 5 million barrels of oil that were part of a historic U.S. emergency oil reserves release aimed at lowering domestic fuel prices were exported to Europe and Asia last month, according to data and sources, even as U.S. gasoline and diesel prices touched record highs.
The export of crude and fuel is blunting the impact of the moves by U.S. President Joe Biden designed to lower record pump prices. Biden on Saturday renewed a call for gasoline suppliers to cut their prices, drawing criticism from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
About 1 million barrels per day is being released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through October. The flow is draining the SPR, which last month fell to the lowest since 1986. U.S. crude futures are above $105 per barrel and gasoline and diesel prices above $5 a gallon in one-fifth of the nation. U.S. officials have said oil prices could be higher if the SPR had not been tapped.
U.S. crude inventories are the lowest since 2004 as refineries run near peak levels. Refineries in the U.S. Gulf coast were at 97.9% utilization, the most in three and a half years.