By Thomas Catenacci
- President Joe Biden has raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve three times, but the actions have had minimal impact on oil and gasoline prices, data showed.
- “Today, we’re launching a major effort to moderate the price of oil — an effort that will span the globe in its reach and, ultimately, reach your corner gas station, God willing,” Biden said on Nov. 23, 2021, after the first SPR release.
- “The action I’m calling for will make a real difference over time,” the president remarked on March 31, 2022, after the third release.
Oil and gasoline prices increased after each of President Joe Biden’s three Strategic Petroleum Reserve releases which were designed to curb consumer costs.
Biden ordered a 50-million-barrel SPR release in November, a 30-million-barrel release on March 1 and a 180-million-barrel release on March 31, saying the “historic” actions would ease pressure felt by Americans at the pump. But marketplace and government data analyzed by The Daily Caller News Foundation paint a different picture. (RELATED: Biden Considers Draining Yet Another Key Emergency Fuel Stockpile: REPORT)
On Tuesday, the average price of gasoline reached an all-time high of $4.59 per gallon, according to AAA data, while domestic oil prices remained above $110 a barrel, far higher than their 2015-2021 average of $53.15 per barrel and 2021 average of $68.14 a barrel, Federal Reserve data showed.
Release 1: Nov. 23, 2021
Oil price: $76.75 a barrel.
Gasoline price: $3.40 per gallon.
Biden ordered the DOE to accelerate the congressionally-mandated SPR release of 18 million barrels of oil and release an additional 32 million barrels on Nov. 23. The action was taken in conjunction with various nations including China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K.
“The bottom line: Today, we’re launching a major effort to moderate the price of oil — an effort that will span the globe in its reach and, ultimately, reach your corner gas station, God willing,” Biden remarked after he took the action.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) index, the U.S. oil benchmark, ticked up from $76.75 a barrel to $78.50 a barrel between Nov. 22-23, according to market data. The domestic benchmark then dipped throughout December before bursting past $80 a barrel in early January.
Similarly, the average price of gasoline nationwide, which stood at $3.40 per gallon on Nov. 22, fell about 10 cents before increasing to $3.61 a gallon by late February, federal data showed.
Release 2: March 1, 2022
Oil price: $95.72 a barrel.
Gasoline price: $3.61 per gallon.
The White House announced a second SPR release on March 1 in conjunction with 30 other International Energy Agency member nations. The U.S. agreed to release 30 million barrels of oil as part of the 60-million-barrel global release in an effort to “protect American businesses and consumers, including from rising prices at the pump,” former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home,” Biden said during his State of the Union address that evening. “And I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming. But I want you to know that we are going to be okay.”
The WTI benchmark, though, surged from $95.72 a barrel on Feb. 28 to $103.41 per barrel on March 1 and $123.70 a barrel a week later on March 8, market data showed. The March 8 figure marked the highest oil price since the 2008 recession.
The average price of gasoline rose from $3.61 a gallon on Feb. 28 to $4.32 per gallon two weeks later, according to the Energy Information Administration. It hasn’t dipped below $4 a gallon since the March 1 release.
Release 3: March 31, 2022
Oil price: $107.82 a barrel.
Gasoline price: $4.23 per gallon.
Finally, Biden announced the largest release to date on March 31, ordering the DOE to release 180 million barrels of oil from the SPR between April-September. The president said the move would provide a “historic amount of supply for a historic amount of time” and act as a “six-month bridge” to the fall.
“The action I’m calling for will make a real difference over time,” he said during remarks titled “Actions to Lower Gas Prices at the Pump for American Families.” (RELATED: Is Biden’s Mass Release From The Strategic Oil Reserves Even Legal?)
Biden then predicted gas prices would fall 10-35 cents a gallon.
However, the price of oil declined substantially from $107.82 a barrel on March 30 to $100.28 per barrel on March 31. Oil prices remained near that level through April and early May before increasing again and hitting $114.20 per barrel on May 16.
Gasoline prices followed a similar trajectory as oil prices, declining through April before skyrocketing in mid May and hitting multiple all-time highs.