Biden Taps Oil Reserves Again

President Biden | Image by Ron Adar

On March 31, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day for 6 months from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve. The White House implemented the measure in an effort to keep energy prices under control after the U.S. and its allies imposed harsh sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement comes after the G7 countries discussed the possibility of new oil releases from strategic reserves last week, according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“Yes, [these ideas] were raised, especially during the G7 meeting,” Sullivan said at a briefing on April 1. “That was the main topic of discussion. The question is, what tools do we have at our disposal in order to deal with world oil prices?”

Biden said he did not know how much gasoline prices might drop due to his decision but added it could be “anything from 10 cents to 35 cents a gallon.”

According to AAA, gas currently averages about $4.23 a gallon, compared with $2.87 a year ago.

In a press release, the White House said some oil companies are doing the right thing and committing to ramping up production, while others are allegedly prioritizing profit without helping to increase supply.

“Right now, domestic production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and nearly 700,000 barrels per day next year,” the release stated. “Still, too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits … without making additional investment to help with supply. One CEO even acknowledged that, even if the price goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up production.”

President Biden is urging Congress to levy fees on companies for wells that have not been used in years and acres of public land that they are hoarding without producing anything, according to the press release.

Representatives from the energy industry slammed President Biden’s plan, calling it is short-sighted, especially in light of other policies that discourage production.

Frank Macchiarola, American Petroleum Institute’s senior vice president of policy, economics, and regulatory affairs, told¬†Fox Business that the plan is only a temporary fix.

“While this release could provide some near-term relief, it is not a long-term solution to meeting growing demand for affordable and reliable energy,” he said. “Instead of managing from crisis to crisis, we should be focused on promoting policies that avoid them altogether through increased production of our nation’s domestic energy resources.”

Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile in November 2021 to reduce energy costs in the face of rising gas prices and inflation, Yahoo News reports. He released another 30 million barrels from the stockpile in early March.

Fox News reports that Senators Mark Kelly and Joe Manchin are urging Biden to support oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to alleviate Americans’ long-term fuel-price woes.

“Americans are facing record-level gasoline prices every day when they commute to work, drive their children to school and buy groceries and medicine,” the senators said in a letter to Biden on April 1. “The additional disruptions in the oil market caused by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine could drive prices up even further.”

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