Biden Refutes Claims That Oil Reserve Decision Is Political
(TheRedWire.com) – High gasoline prices are toxic to Democratic candidates who control the levers of power in Congress and the White House. In April 2021, consumers shelled out $2.87 per gallon, according to Gas Buddy. By the summer of 2022, it rose to a record high of $5.02. According to AAA and on Gas Station Price Charts – Local & National Historical Average Trends – GasBuddy.com, as of Friday, October 21, it was $3.82. As the economy braces for a potential recession, President Joe Biden has sought to keep gas supplies high enough to prevent prices from spiking excessively.
On Wednesday, October 19, Biden announced he was tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) again to help drive down the cost of gas. With his polls at abysmal lows and Democrats facing a potentially crushing defeat in the midterm elections, prices have risen from $3.68 in September. When a reporter challenged the president to answer whether the move to tap the SPR was political to protect Democrats, he refuted the claim.
Biden Taps SPR
In March, Biden directed the Department of Energy to release 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. That left only 400 million barrels in reserve of the 714 million capacity. On Wednesday, the Commander-in-Chief announced that the administration would release an additional 15 million barrels to drive down gas prices.
Many question whether that’s an appropriate use of the SPR and doubt the president’s stated motivation as Democrats face a challenging political environment heading into the election on November 8. The Energy Department’s website says the US established the SPR to “reduce the impact of reductions in supplies” and fulfill international US obligations.
The President Snaps At Reporter
After announcing the release of oil from the SPR, Biden appeared surprised when a reporter asked him to respond to Republicans who accused him of releasing reserves as a way to help Democrats in the midterms. The president snapped back and asked where they were over the “last four months,” adding it was not a political ploy.
The move comes as gas demand is declining over concerns a recession will harm oil markets. Still, OPEC+ recently slashed production by 2 million barrels per day. Will the decrease in demand last as winter prepares to settle in soon? In September, The National Energy Assistance Directors Association projected that home heating costs would climb 17.2% this winter over last year. Natural gas prices are also at far higher levels than historical trends.
What do you believe? Was the president’s move appropriate, or was it a gimmick to help Democrats?
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