Joe Biden issued an order in March that directed the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to reduce gas prices for American consumers.
Reports now indicate that significant portions of the SPR oil being released are being shipped overseas, even as domestic energy prices have reached records this year and inflation continues to skyrocket.
A spokesperson for Biden’s Department of Energy issued a release saying the export of SPR oil helped to “stabilize the supply of oil.” SPR oil has been sent to India, the Netherlands, and China.
When the release order reaches the end of its six-month term, the U.S. will have taken down 260 million barrels from the SPR, leaving the emergency supply at its lowest level since 1986.
The SPR was established in 1973 as an emergency inventory of petroleum and crude oil managed by the Department of Energy. Since then, it has historically been the world’s largest reserve stockpile of ready-for-use oil.
The report issued by Reuters on Tuesday indicates that more than 5 million barrels of the SPR release for June alone were “exported to Europe and Asia.”
Phillips 66 is America’s fourth-largest oil refiner. It alone sent approximately 470,000 barrels of oil released from the SPR to Trieste, Italy in June.
Trieste is a hub for a crude oil pipeline that sends oil to central European refineries.
The report stated that a subsidiary of French oil company TotalEnergies exported 2 shipments of SPR oil that each contained 560,000 barrels.
One industry analyst told Reuters for its report that the SPR releases are “not really having the effect that was assumed” they would on the cost of domestic energy to ordinary Americans.
As of Thursday afternoon, AAA reported that the current average cost for a gallon of regular gas in the U.S. stood at $4.75. That is down from the all-time record of $5.02 set less than a month ago.
Biden has been looking for anywhere to lay the blame for high gas prices other than the policies of his administration. Last month, he demanded that oil companies “take immediate action” to increase oil supplies.
The American Petroleum Institute reports that American refineries are running at 94% of capacity, placing them “among the highest in the world.”
Then over the Independence Day holiday weekend, Biden shifted his attention to the small business operators of gas stations, demanding that they set lower prices immediately.