This afternoon President Joe Biden announced the sale of 15 million additional barrels of oil from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and his intention to release more oil this winter. “I have been doing everything in my power to reduce gas prices since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused these price hikes.”
But what he said is simply not true. Biden has leased less public land and off-shore waters than any president since World War II. He killed the re-opening of a major oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. And by releasing more oil from the SPR than any president in American history, Biden has repressed private sector investment in oil and gas production. After all, what’s the point in producing more oil and gas if the president of the United States, who has repeatedly promised to “end fossil fuel,” undercuts you in the market?
Biden’s policies are not the only reason for high gasoline prices. Refinery capacity in the U.S. has been declining for decades. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led President Biden in March to ban Russian oil and natural gas imports into the U.S. And despite strenuous efforts by the Biden administration, OPEC+ oil-producing nations decided to cut oil production earlier this month.
But President Biden’s policies are the leading cause of the lack of supply and resulting high prices of oil and gasoline. The U.S. produces more oil in a single day than what it imported from Russia in February. Part of the reason OPEC+ cut production was Biden’s constant SPR releases. And Biden and his party had been blocking the expansion of oil refinery capacity for nearly two decades.
Moreover, Biden said he would buy oil from American producers to refill the SPR only when the price drops to $70 per barrel or lower. But last month, Biden’s aides quietly offered to buy OPEC+ oil at $80 per barrel. And, over the last year, the Biden administration has pleaded with Saudi Arabia to produce more oil and lifted some sanctions on Venezuela.
Meanwhile, when asked if Biden had met, or considered meeting with, oil and gas executives, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed he had not. “The Department of Energy has had several meetings with oil companies about what we can do to lower prices,” said Jean-Pierre. “And some White House officials have attended those meetings as well.” And Biden again today attacked American oil companies.
Why is that? Why is Biden’s wrath disproportionately focused inward?