President Joe Biden is nervous about the midterms – and he should be. Gas prices have risen 59.8 percent since Biden was sworn into office. That kind of jump has a huge day-to-day impact on Americans and their families, and it’s a big bite out of the family budget when it costs $100 to fill up your tank instead of $60. Americans are feeling these financial consequences each time they fill up, and in November, Democrats will feel the political consequences.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created as a backup energy supply in emergency scenarios. Historically, tapping into the SPR has not been taken lightly. Before Biden, U.S. presidents have authorized emergency sales from the SPR only three times – during the first Gulf War, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and to counter supply disruptions from Libya’s civil war. It is unacceptable for the Biden administration to use our emergency oil reserves as a political tool to temporarily lower gas prices ahead of the election.
I’ve managed emergencies that required tapping the SPR. When Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and Louisiana, I used my authority as Energy Secretary to loan thousands of barrels from the SPR to compensate for Harvey-caused refinery outages. The SPR was a vital tool at my disposal when Americans needed relief. But there is a key difference between what Biden is doing and what I did.
DONALD TRUMP SAYS UKRAINE WAR SHOULD’VE ‘NEVER’ HAPPENED: PUTIN ‘RESPECTED’ ME
My Department of Energy coordinated with American producers and refiners to provide temporary aid until they could get back on their feet. Perhaps most importantly, I made sure the SPR was refilled. I fear Biden’s unprecedented decision to drain our reserve will leave us unprepared for future emergencies.
The SPR is not the president’s personal oil supply. Yet, Biden has been treating it as a political band-aid since he took office. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. petroleum reserves are down 230 million barrels since Biden’s Inauguration and are at the lowest they’ve been since the Summer of 1984. With levels dangerously low, the administration just requested the release of another 15 million barrels. By the end of the year, U.S. reserves will be down a staggering 255 million barrels.
This latest SPR release comes on the heels of another desperate attempt to lower gas prices. Earlier this month, the Biden administration reportedly asked OPEC+ to delay its decision to cut production, a play to push the cartel’s decision to after the midterm election. OPEC+ ignored the administration’s pleas and announced plans to cut production by 2 million barrels per day. This decision put the Biden administration in a bind, and with their backs against the wall, they resorted to their favorite stopgap solution – the SPR.
The fact is OPEC+’s announcement wouldn’t have impacted American gas prices if our country was energy independent. The energy crisis in Europe is a stark example of the consequences of sacrificing energy independence to meet aggressive green energy targets. Russia is strangling European energy supplies, and the best solution the Biden administration can muster is to sacrifice American energy security and constantly interfere in the ability of the market to stabilize itself.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER
Yet, since day one in office, Biden and his administration have been hostile to American energy production and infrastructure – shutting down pipeline projects like Keystone XL and layering permitting red tape. Instead of unleashing energy here at home, Biden officials are engaging in dictator diplomacy, imploring them to fix this self-inflicted crisis. Yet, the administration hasn’t arranged a single constructive conversation with American energy companies about strategies for unleashing American energy.
This week, Biden claimed, “My administration has not stopped or slowed U.S. oil production.” That’s news to every American with a pulse. At every turn, this administration has chosen to undermine and impede American energy production. Biden has favored buying foreign oil over working with American companies here at home and has chosen short-term solutions, like depleting the SPR or pleading with OPEC, over long-lasting change.
The president clearly demonstrates that he and his administration reject the most basic economic principles. Simply put, flooding the market with artificial supplies reduces the price incentive for American producers to step in and provide relief for struggling Americans. After all, Biden made it abundantly clear that his administration will consider even more releases next year after the monster 180 million barrel release ends in December.
America has an abundance of energy-rich resources. We can supply our own energy, but Biden has turned off the tap. The Biden administration must admit his policies are failing the American people, unleash American energy production, and build the infrastructure our nation needs. Reinvigorating America’s energy sector is the only way to lower Americans’ energy costs for the long run.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM RICK PERRY