Following his controversial decision to release millions of barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), Joe Biden has brought the emergency stockpile of oil to its lowest level since the 1980s.
Axios reports that, while Biden’s actions may have worked to lower gas prices slightly from their record highs in the summer, the result has been the loss of nearly half of the SPR’s overall total of barrels of crude oil. The stockpile consisted of roughly 402 million barrels kept underground along the Gulf Coast, reserved for absolute emergencies such as war or an invasion.
Biden announced earlier this year that he would release about 180 million barrels of oil in an effort to reduce gas prices, which reached averages as high as $5 a gallon all across the country. Then in October, he announced the release of another 15 million barrels when gas prices began rising once again.
The rise in gas prices has been widely attributed to the Biden Administration’s decisions to completely halt all domestic oil production, including shutting down the permitting process for any further drilling on federal land, which is part of their broader agenda to shift the United States towards so-called “green energy.” With domestic production completely shut down, gas prices rose as efforts to implement measures such as electric vehicles failed miserably in states like California.
The United States subsequently became more dependent on foreign oil once again, but some countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, refused to consider negotiations to sell oil to the U.S. The foreign oil supply chain was further disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a conflict involving two of the most oil-rich nations in the world.
As a result, spiking gas prices have led to a significant decrease in Biden’s popularity, which has had a devastating political effect on his party as the 2022 midterms draw closer. Republicans, who have made gas prices a major campaign issue, are widely expected to retake both houses of Congress on November 8th.