Facing widespread backlash from rising gas prices, President Joe Biden announced in late March that his administration would release millions of barrels from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves. The intent was to augment American gasoline supplies and, in turn, lower prices at the pump for everyday Americans. Except, according to a recent Reuters report, nearly 5 million barrels of those emergency reserves were instead exported to countries in Europe and Asia – including China.
Critics argued that Biden’s initiative to release gasoline from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves was a stopgap measure that would do little to address underlying structural issues with the energy market. Supported by environmentalist groups, Biden has taken numerous steps to curb domestic energy production. Recently, for instance, the Biden administration scrapped plans for new oil and gas drilling leases. The move builds on previous crackdowns on domestic drilling by the Biden administration, including restricting new offshore drilling, rescinding existing drilling leases, and a deluge of new environmental regulations.
Energy prices have predictably skyrocketed under Biden’s watch, especially after the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And Biden’s release from strategic reserves back in March barely made a dent in energy prices, which have continued climbing and breaking new records in the months since. Gas and diesel are currently averaging just under $4.78 and just over $5.81 per gallon, respectively; diesel and gas averaged around $3.13 and $3.25 per gallon, respectively, a year ago today.
Findings from the Reuters report provide one of many reasons why the initiative failed to cool down gas prices. And Biden isn’t alone in receiving blame – Republican officials have also blamed other Democrats who supported the move and Biden’s energy agenda more broadly.
One of those Democrats, IA-01 congressional candidate Christina Bohannan, described Biden’s release from the strategic reserve as “totally appropriate right now to try to get some of that supply up a bit” at a public event late last month.
The Reuters report’s findings “makes Iowa Democrat Christina Bohannan’s praise of Biden and his decimation of American energy that much more out-of-touch,” a Republican National Committee spokesman said in an email blast. “’Totally appropriate’ for Joe Biden and Democrats to attack American energy and then send our emergency reserve overseas? Talk about adding insult to injury as Iowans struggle to pay the bills.”