Biden sells gasoline stockpiles to keep prices low before the election


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it will sell 1 million barrels of gasoline held in case of emergencies — with the Energy Department apparently citing an interest in keeping gas prices low heading into the summer driving season ahead of the November election. Have given.

The fuel will be released from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, a component of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established in 2014 after Superstorm Sandy disrupted gasoline supplies to the New York City area.

The Biden administration announced it would sell 1 million barrels of gasoline set aside for emergencies. AP
The fuel will be released from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve. reuters

“The Biden-Harris Administration is focused on lowering prices at the pump for American families, especially as drivers hit the road for the summer driving season,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

“By strategically releasing this reserve between Memorial Day and July 4, we are ensuring adequate supply flow to the Tri-State and the Northeast at a time when hardworking Americans need it most.”

Critics, including congressional Republicans, slammed Biden's move as an attempt to buy votes — after making similar allegations about Biden's effort to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in federally owned student loan debt in the run-up to the election.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) accused Biden of “once again using America's emergency fuel stockpile to cover up his disastrous inflation policies in an election year.”

“Releasing 1 million barrels of gasoline from the Northeast Reserve is a desperate move by Joe Biden to lower the prices he has raised,” tweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “This reserve is for emergencies, not as cover for Biden’s failed economic policies.”

By 2023, approximately 8.94 million barrels of gasoline were used per day in the US. Reuters

Skeptics noted that the full withdrawal of the Northeast Reserve, which was authorized in the March government spending bill, was unlikely to have a significant impact on prices – which currently average $3.60 per regular gallon, since Biden took office. At the time of handling around $2.38 and last traded higher at $3.54 at this time. Year according to AAA data.

The US is projected to use about 8.94 million barrels of gasoline per day by 2023, according to the US Energy Information Administration, meaning Tuesday's release will cover less than three hours of the average US consumption.

“A condemnable political move. Like a drop in the ocean,” wrote one X user.

“He should reverse his harmful anti-energy policies,” Staten Island Representative Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) tweeted.

“Discouraging domestic production is depleting our emergency stockpiles. Such a winning strategy!” tweeted Gabriela Hoffman, energy and conservation director at the Independent Women's Forum.

“Under [former President Donald] “Under Trump, it was ‘drill, baby, drill.’ Under Biden, it’s ‘drain, baby, drain,’” tweeted Charles Correll III, a speechwriter for Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is located at the Bryan Mound Storage Facility, Brazoria County, Texas. reuters

As Republicans criticized Biden, the White House issued a statement Tuesday afternoon arguing that his energy policies focused on promoting environmentally friendly technologies have helped consumers.

“This builds on other actions by President Biden to lower gas and energy costs – including historic releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the largest-ever investment in clean energy,” said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“While Congressional Republicans are fighting to preserve tax breaks for Big Oil at the expense of hardworking families, President Biden is pushing forward a more secure, affordable and clean energy future to lower utility bills while slashing record U.S. Energy production helps meet our immediate needs.”

Energy costs have risen sharply under Biden — contributing to a broader surge in price increases that Republicans attribute to current policies and big spending bills. Democrats generally blame factors such as COVID-19 supply chain disruptions, the Russia-Ukraine war and alleged corporate greed for high inflation.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US energy costs have increased by 38% since Biden took office. Those costs include an increase in electricity prices of about 30%.

Overall U.S. consumer costs have risen by 20% since Biden took office, dimming his re-election prospects as he faces a rematch against Trump on Nov. 5.

In addition to his pending plans to deplete gasoline reserves, Biden has depleted about 43% of the crude oil held in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to keep prices low.

When Biden took office, the U.S. government had more than 638 million barrels of crude oil in its reserves. It currently has less than 361 million barrels, according to federal data.

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