Chris Lange, FISM News
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will release another 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), as well as a plan to refill the reserve when prices drop below $70 per barrel.
Yet another tapping of the SPR is a clear effort to prevent gas prices from spiking ahead of the midterm elections. The SPR is already at its lowest level since the mid-’80s.
The latest sale is the final tranche of disbursement of 180 million barrels the Biden administration announced in March.
Though gas prices have come down from the unprecedented peak over the summer months, OPEC+’s Oct. 5 decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day threatens to inflict more pain at the pump at a critical time for Democrats as the economy and inflation remain the top two issues on the minds of voters with the Nov. 8 elections less than three weeks away. Many Americans have already begun casting their ballots in early voting.
Administration officials announced, and the president reiterated in his speech, a plan to buy back crude oil to replenish the SPR, noting that President Biden expects the energy sector to “take the signal and increase production” and make certain that they are charging consumers “the appropriate price.” The White House has frequently attempted to pin soaring fuel costs on American oil producers and distributors.
President Biden again pointed the finger at oil companies in his speech, urging them to drop the price at the pump rather than increase profits. He also said that claims of his office preventing American oil companies from increasing production are untrue.
His entire speech can be viewed here:
Tune in as I deliver remarks on additional actions to lower costs and strengthen energy security. https://t.co/mpd1G1vCGT
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 19, 2022
“The profit that energy refining companies are now capturing on every gallon of gasoline is about double what it typically is at this time of year, and the retailer margin over the refinery price is more than 40 percent above the typical level,” the administration said in a Fact Sheet published on Tuesday.
“These outsized industry profit margins – adding more than $0.60 to the average price of a gallon of gas – have kept pump prices higher than they should be. Keeping prices high even as input costs fall is unacceptable, and the President will call on companies to pass their savings through to consumers – now,” the statement continued.
Republican lawmakers have slammed the administration for depleting the emergency oil reserves as a “stopgap measure” that has done little to bring down prices, all while refusing to open up domestic production.