On Tuesday, the Biden Administration deliberately chose to not refill the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) after depleting it to combat a surge in gas prices last year.
According to the Daily Caller, the report from Bloomberg said that the administration considered it to be “too expensive” to refill the vital reserve supply, as the current price of a barrel of oil is roughly $80. The SPR is still at a record low level after Biden released at least 180 million barrels in 2022, in an effort to reduce historically high gas prices prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
“The [Department of Energy (DOE)] remains committed to its replenishment strategy for the SPR, including direct purchases when we can secure a good deal for taxpayers; exchange returns; and cancellation of planned sales where drawdown is unnecessary, in coordination with Congress,” a DOE spokesman said in a statement.
The Biden Administration had previously said it would consider buying back oil to replenish the SPR once the average barrel price falls between $62 and $72, but the average price has instead been on the rise in recent months. On Tuesday, the price of Brent oil crude futures closed at $85.
The decision on Tuesday marked the fourth round of bids to refill the SPR, a crucial reserve supply that had previously only been meant for emergencies such as wartime. Biden’s decision to raid the SPR for the simple purpose of reducing domestic gas prices, so that he and his party would not suffer the consequences in an election, was widely criticized.
DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in July that the Biden Administration would seek to refill the SPR, but admitted that the task may have to wait for a second term.