Biden's Controversial Oil Reserve Strategy Unveiled

President Joe Biden is set to release more oil from strategic reserves in a bid to control gas prices amidst rising inflation and political scrutiny.

Published June 18, 2024 - 00:06am

3 minutes read
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President Joe Biden is prepared to release more oil from the country's strategic reserves if gas prices increase during summer. This is the latest plan by the Biden administration to counter higher prices at the pumps and the more expensive prices on various goods due to inflation.

A Biden administration energy advisor suggested that gas prices were "still too high" for many in the country and that he favors taking action to "cut them down a little bit further." Amos Hochstein told the Financial Times, "We will do everything we can to make sure that the market is supplied well enough to ensure as low [a] price as possible for American consumers."

Hochstein's admission comes less than a month after the Biden administration announced it sold one million barrels of gasoline in the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve on May 21, less than a week before Memorial Day. At the time, the Department of Energy claimed that the sale was "strategically timed and structured to maximize its impact on gasoline prices, helping to lower prices at the pump as Americans hit the road this summer."

President Biden's strategy to release oil from the country's reserves has shown promising results. On May 21, the national average price for regular gas was $3.598 per gallon. As of June 16, that price dropped to $3.447, indicating a significant decrease in gas prices. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in May, "By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4th, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most."

Before Joe Biden took office, gas prices for the average motorist were at about $2.42 a gallon. Due to various economic policies and international factors, prices under his regime have consistently been about 40% higher. Analysts point out that while gas prices are lower than the highs experienced in previous months, they remain significantly higher than levels seen during the Trump administration.

The use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has garnered considerable political attention. Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for what they see as the misuse of the reserves for political purposes, especially ahead of elections. In a letter sent earlier this year, senior Republican politicians called on the administration to "ensure that the SPR is not abused for political purposes in this election year" and described previous releases as "a transparent attempt to influence the midterm elections."

The strategic petroleum reserve was set up primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products and to carry out obligations of the United States under the international energy program. The reserves were not meant to be tools for presidential political maneuvering but to safeguard energy security during emergencies.

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