By Joseph Nichols, Staff Writer
President Joe Biden announced he will to release 15 million barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic reserve last week. In March, 180 million barrels of oil were approved to be released, with just over 400 million barrels remaining in the reserve.
This is a response to the Russia-Ukrain war and the resulting embargos on Russian oil. While Biden plans to release the remaining approved barrels in the next months, the prices of gasoline are expected to decrease for Americans. Last Wednesday, Biden said that gasoline prices are not lowering quickly enough and that “families are hurting.”
“With my announcement today, we’re going to continue to stabilize markets and decrease the prices at a time when the actions of other countries have caused such volatility,” Biden stated.
As Biden is hopeful for gasoline price cuts for Americans in the upcoming months, the release of the barrels from the reserve comes at a time when gasoline prices are 56 cents higher per gallon than this time last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
White House officials stated that it will restock the strategic reserve when prices per barrel fall between a range of $67 to $72, since the reserve is at its lowest since 1984.
As the White House prepares to restock the strategic reserve and lower prices, Biden released a statement to energy companies that he has accused in the past of capitalizing off of American citizens.
“My message to the American energy companies is this: you should not be using your profits to buy back stock or for dividends. Not now, not while a war is raging. You should be using these record-breaking profits to increase production and refining,” Biden said.
Biden has also been outspoken in his critique of oil companies, accusing them of price gouging and retaining “pump prices higher than they should be.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm singled out ExxonMobile after it to the Biden administration policies.
“These companies need to focus less on taking every last dollar off the table, and more on passing through savings to their customers,” Granholm said.
Due to regulation with the Department of Energy, the department requires at least a month and a half’s notice, meaning that Biden’s statement to release the 15 million barrels of oil will not be fulfilled until December. December marks the end of the second year of Biden’s presidential term, meaning that midterms are awaiting in the coming months. Biden was questioned in a news conference by a reporter if the release of these barrels was in preparation for midterms and if it was a calculated move to positively affect the image of Democrats.
“It’s motivated me to make sure that I continue to push on what I’ve been pushing on and that is making sure there’s enough oil that’s been pumped by the companies, so that we have the ability to be able to produce enough gas that we need here at home,” Biden said.