A proposal from a New Jersey congressman is designed to reduce pain at the gas pump for drivers and increase the nation's investment in electric vehicle technology.

The Buy Low and Sell High Act, introduced on Monday, would create a special oil reserve and empower the federal government to only purchase oil for the reserve when prices are below $60 per barrel, and sell oil from the reserve when prices exceed $90 per barrel.

"Americans are tired of bearing the burden of our dependence on a volatile, unpredictable oil market controlled primarily by foreign dictators and adversaries," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J. 6th District. "It's time for new, innovative solutions to keep bringing prices down, and that's where the Economic Petroleum Reserve comes in."

Granting the Department of Energy the ability to sell barrels from the EPR when prices are high, he said, ensures that drivers get immediate price relief, instead of waiting months or years.

Pallone was joined by Democrats from a number of states in the introduction of the bill.

The bill notes that the EPR would be a designated subset of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile of petroleum that was created in the 1970s to insulate Americans from global oil supply disruptions. The SPR has been used this year to lower gas prices, which reached an average of more than $5 for unleaded in New Jersey this spring.

The bill calls for setting up portions of this reserve in every region of the United States, and it prohibits barrels stored within the SPR from being exported or sold to entities owned, controlled, or influenced by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any other country under U.S. sanctions.

Profits from oil sales, the congressman notes, would be used to invest in state electric vehicle infrastructure programs.

"Not only does this bill grant DOE the flexibility it needs to keep prices falling, but it also recognizes that our reliance on fossil fuels makes us weaker and uses the proceeds from oil sales to build out electric vehicle infrastructure," Pallone said.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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