Midterm surprise: Strategic Petroleum Reserve release

Midterm surprise: Strategic Petroleum Reserve release

Is America running out of gas?

The OPEC+ decision to slash oil production by two million barrels per day, just weeks before the midterm elections, caught the Biden administration by surprise.

Gas prices are up 18 cents per gallon over the past month nationwide, and by more in 18 states where 29 House Democrats are in tight races. What’s more, energy prices are a hot issue in Nevada and Pennsylvania, which host two of the tightest Senate races.

So President Biden is again uncorking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), releasing 15 million barrels to the market on top of 165 million released earlier this year. The White House said, “The U.S. SPR remains the largest strategic reserve in the world with about 400 million barrels remaining.”

That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. After the new release, the SPR will be at its lowest level in 38 years. A decade ago, the SPR held more than 700 million barrels of oil.

The reserve, which was created in 1975 by Congress as a response to the 1973-74 OPEC oil embargo, is intended to counter any severe interruption in the oil supply. Past releases of oil from the SPR have only modestly and temporarily lowered prices at the pump.

The OPEC+ shocker is just the latest incident making the case that the United States needs to focus on energy independence, which can only happen if the energy permitting logjam is broken. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has introduced legislation to do just that. Sign on to show your support.