Last Thursday, The White House announced plans for the largest ever release of strategic oil reserves for the United States. A fact sheet said it would release an average of 1 million barrels per day for the next six months, which would be a total of about 180 million barrels released.
United States Oil Reserve: Release Details
“This is not the time to sit on record profits. It’s time to step up for the good of your country, the good of the world, to invest in immediate production that we need to respond to Vladimir Putin,” stated the President. Biden continued to urge the oil industry to help provide relief for customers during this time as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causes oil and gasoline prices to skyrocket.
The Biden administration was already grappling with high consumer prices that have fueled GOP attacks. The move on Thursday follows releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of 30 million barrels earlier this month. The announcement was part of a broader plan that the White House said would address rising domestic gas prices.
The administration is putting pressure on oil companies to increase production on federal lands where drilling permits have been approved but remain unused. Biden is expected to call on Congress to approve legislation that would “make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years,” this also extends to acres of public lands they own but aren’t producing oil from. The senior administration official described this as a “use it or lose it” policy.
Additionally, Biden is expected to authorize the use of the Defense Production Act to help the production of batteries and assist with the transitioning of the U.S. to clean energy over time. Biden estimates that prices could be reduced by 10 cents or 35 cents per gallon, but the impact of his move is still not yet known. For additional context, the U.S. consumed around 20 million barrels of oil per day last year.