Will gas prices come down from this? On Tuesday, the United States Department of Energy announced that it would sell an additional 45 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of efforts to drive down the cost of gasoline across the country.
The news comes as the national average price for a gallon of gas at the pump surpasses $5, with analysts predicting that prices will surpass $6 by the end of the summer.
President Joe Biden announced the largest-ever release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile of oil designed to provide the United States with an emergency supply in a time of crisis, in March this year.
The White House announced plans to gradually release 180 million barrels of oil at a rate of 1 million barrels per day over a period of six months, with the intention of driving down rapidly-rising prices. At the time, the president blamed rising prices on oil companies and warned of prices rising even higher as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Enough of lavishing excessive profits on investors and payouts and buybacks when the American people are watching, the world is watching,” Biden said.
“This is not the time to sit on record profits. It’s time to step up for the good of your country, the good of the world, to invest in immediate production that we need to respond to Vladimir Putin, to provide some relief for your customers, not investors and executives,” the president continued.
In 2020, President Donald Trump announced that he had directed the United States Department of Energy to purchase crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to assist American energy producers that were hurt by an oil price war between Russia and OPEC countries.
“We’re going to full the strategic reserve right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry,” Trump said at the time.
Biden Attracts Criticism Over Move on Oil Play to Lower Gas Costs
Financial news website Zerohedge commented on the breaking news on Tuesday afternoon, pondering whether the announcement was a response to President Joe Biden’s plummeting approval ratings.
“Did he see the latest poll numbers?” the Zerohedge Twitter account asked.
Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene also questioned whether the decision would lead to long-term price reductions.
“Joe Biden AND the Democrats are intentionally destroying our emergency supply of oil,” Greene said. “Releasing another 45 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve gives us roughly 2 maybe 3 days worth of oil.”
Attorney and political commentator Steve Milloy also suggested that the move was “trivial” and would provide relief for less than three days.
“There is no strategic emergency. If there is in the near future, we’d be screwed,” Milloy said, adding that the purpose of the reserve is to supply oil when supplies are limited.
“The purpose is not to lower the price of oil, which is impossible to do via SPR releases,” he added.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.