U.S. President Joe Biden's historic move to release oil from strategic reserves in coordination with other major nations including China represents a unique bet that finding common ground with the United States' top economic rival can help dampen fuel prices for middle-class Americans.

The move, announced by the U.S. on Tuesday, underscores the complicated relationship Biden is trying to craft with China as he seeks agreement on key issues like climate change and trade, while linked in an economic arms race. The rare moment of cooperation comes as inflation, and especially high gasoline prices, eat at Biden's popularity at home.

"This is a new era of oil diplomacy for the U.S. to coordinate with India and China," said Daniel Yergin, an oil historian and the vice chairman of IHS Markit. Cooperation with China is likely to stick to energy and environment.