The Biden administration exported more than 5 million barrels of oil from our emergency reserves that were released in order to combat sky-high gas prices here at home, according to a report.
The US sent the oil, which was taken from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that the Biden administration tapped into in hopes of getting mounting energy prices under control, to Asia and Europe, Reuters is reporting.
The release of around 1 million barrels a day from the SPR through October has had a minimal effect in decreasing the price of oil. At the same time, it has depleted the reserves to their lowest level since 1986.
Brent crude futures were slightly higher on Wednesday, rising more than 1.3% to around $104 per barrel while US West Texas Intermediate rose 0.65% to eclipse $100 per barrel.
Fears of a recession pushed oil prices downward in recent weeks, but Americans were still feeling the pain at the pump.
The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was costing American motorists $4.78 — or 52% higher than the $3.13 that drivers were paying a year ago.
Motorists in California are paying an average of $6.22 per gallon at the pump — the highest in the nation.
While the price of gas has fallen by as much as 15 cents in the last three weeks in some states, AAA is warning that the relief is short-lived as Americans gear up for peak driving season in July, which will likely put a further strain on limited supply.
The Biden administration has defended its decision to release oil from the reserves, saying that doing so prevented gas prices from spiking even further.
“The SPR remains a critical energy security tool to address global crude oil supply disruptions,” a Department of Energy spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the emergency releases helped ensure stable supply of crude oil.
By Ariel Zilber