Joe Biden has used the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a tool for making a show about claiming concern over skyrocketing gas prices. Back when President Donald Trump was in office, Democrats were more than happy to plunder the reserve for political points as well.
Trump worked on replenishing the reserve after it had been neglected for years, and he had overseen the process of making America energy independent. Democrat lawmakers happily cut the replenishment out of a bill, claiming a symbolic win over the American oil industry.
In March of 2020, Trump said he intended to fill the reserve “right up to the top” to save taxpayers billions of dollars and help the oil industry. It was reported that topping off the reserve would cost around $2.6 billion and generate additional domestic demand of about 430,000 barrels of crude oil every day for approximately six months.
Democrats mobilized an effort to block Trump’s plan before it could get started. They excluded $3 billion of funding for oil purchases to maximize the oil reserve from the massive stimulus package being proposed at the time. Senate Democrats joyfully described the proposal as a “bailout for Big Oil” when they stripped it from the bill.
It was reported at the time that Congress had pulled funding from the oil reserve at least four times since 2015 to pay for other legislative financings, including the 2015 budget agreement and the 2017 tax overhaul, demonstrating that both Democrats and Republicans have used the reserve as a budgetary well to draw from in the past. The Department of Energy was unable to make purchases to fill the reserve without Congressional authority.
Fast forward to late 2021, Biden and the Democrats are attempting to use what is left of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to push down oil prices and consumer gas prices. However, Biden’s amount to draw into the market will be far short of needed to make a significant impact.
Even at reduced pandemic consumption levels, the US needs about 18 million barrels of crude oil daily. The 50 million barrels that Democrats have left available amount to a symbolic gesture amid the Biden administration’s unrelenting attack on domestic productions since the first day he assumed office.