The United States petroleum reserves have hit their lowest levels in decades, since around 1985, sparking criticism and a response from President Joe Biden. The president reacted by releasing about one million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves daily as a response to the quickly rising gas prices in the United States and around the world.
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve levels are at their lowest in the past four decades, with the autumn and winter weather approaching. With the winter season ahead, the U.S. might experience a “cold December and a very cold January,” according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
“The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time,” a recent statement released by the White House says. “This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as a bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up,” it continues.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserves is an emergency stock of crude oil that was created to “reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products.” In January 2021 the reserves were at a high level with over 638 million barrels. As of August 2022, the reserves have fallen to around 461 million barrels. A level this low has not been seen since March 1985, said Daily Wire.
Meanwhile, senior White House officials claims that the spike in fuel prices is going to speed up the adoption of renewable energy nationally. Last month, during a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter Buttigieg said that “the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.” Buttigieg currently serves as U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm stated that “the real truth is that as long as our nation remains overly reliant on oil and fossil fuels, we will feel these price shocks again”. “This is not going to be the last time. The next time there’s a war, the next time there’s a pandemic or another hurricane, these extreme weather events we are experiencing — they will impact the access that we have to fossil fuels,” she added when asked about the reliance on fossil fuels.
By the time President Joe Biden assumed office, the average gas price was $2.38 per gallon. But that number quickly rose up to $3.53 per gallon by the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the Energy Information Administration. In early June the prices per gallon were over $5.00, but they have then subsided to $3.92, according to AAA.
In regards to the price surge, President Joe Biden said in a statement in June that “Putin’s Price Hike hit hard in May here and around the world: high gas prices at the pump, energy, and food prices accounted for around half of the monthly price increases, and gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine.”