(TotalConservative.com) – President Joe Biden’s administration has released over 40% of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the last year to quell rising gas prices at the pump. The current amount of oil in reserve is now just 352 million barrels, down from 727 million which was its previous high during the Obama administration.
The SPR cache is down to its lowest point since the early 1980s. The SPR began in 1975 after war broke out in the Middle East, driving the price of fuel through the roof. President Ford’s administration crafted the plan to create a buffer for the nation in times of crisis.
The current crisis in the Middle East between Hamas and Israel is threatening to engulf the region in a wider conflict which could potentially disrupt oil shipments and production in the region, limiting the supply which drives up the cost.
Neighboring Iran produces 3 million barrels a day, and has sided with Hamas in the conflict. They’ve been accused of aiding the organization with weapons and supplies they used in its October 7th surprise attacks on Israeli civilians.
Officials are anticipating mild impacts if any, however, any expansion of the conflict to include neighboring nations would be devastating if it interrupted the flow of oil.
Brent crude is currently trading at $90.10 a barrel, $10 higher than before Hamas attacked.
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AK) blamed Joe Biden for using the SPR for political benefits. He was previously criticized for releasing millions of barrels shortly before the 2022 midterm elections.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told House Representatives that she wasn’t concerned “at all” about the SPR during sworn testimony. She pointed out that even at its current levels it’s the largest stockpile of oil anywhere in the world.
Critics contend that lower-than-normal levels leave the U.S. vulnerable to the whims of foreign producers like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
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