In the last year, the price of a gallon of gas has increased by more than $1. Today, diesel hit nearly $5 on a national average, and gas has gone up at least twenty cents on average since Russia invaded the Ukraine a week ago. The price of fuel affects people’s commute to work, the price of food and other necessities, and energy costs surged in February before the invasion took place.
On Tuesday, when President Joe Biden addressed the nation during his first formal State of the Union address, he announced that he and multiple countries had decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an international effort to up the global supply of oil currently disrupted by the Russian invasion into Ukraine.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is located along the Gulf Coast of the United States, particularly off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. The United States is releasing 30 million barrels of oil, while European allies are providing the other half of the barrels.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the release of the oil is “meant to counteract (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s weaponization of oil and gas.” Psaki added that this is another way of global partners condemning Putin’s invasion of the neighboring Ukraine.
President Biden has said since the beginning of the invasion a week ago that he anticipated that this war would pose an economic cost to Americans, but he added that he wanted to “minimize the impact to United States consumers,” especially growing pain at American gas pumps.
President Biden issued a memo regarding the release of oil from the Strategic Reserve, saying, “Russia’s actions in Ukraine have resulted in energy supply shortages of significant scope and duration and have already caused a substantial increase in oil prices worldwide.”
Although Americans are grateful for any relief where the price of energy is concerned, most do not anticipate much of a difference in the price of gas. The current release from the Strategic Reserve and the match from European countries is only sixty million barrels; the United States alone consumes about 20 million barrels per day. As a result, the infusion of oil from the reserves may last less than a week.
One barrel of crude oil is currently trading at over $110 per barrel on Thursday.
However, the Secretary of Energy, Jennifer L. Granholm, has said that the Biden Administration is not opposed to releasing more oil from the Strategic Reserve in light of the Russian – Ukraine conflict.
The Strategic Reserve is said to hold approximately 588 million barrels of oil at present.
Americans on both sides of the political aisle – even Democrats on the Hill in Washington – are asking why the Biden Administration isn’t completely cutting off the oil coming from Russia. America gets upwards of 600,000 barrels of oil per month from Russia; there are those who say that as long as America is purchasing oil from Russia, we are helping to fund the Ukrainian invasion.
Multiple oil companies have cut ties with Russia since the invasion began, including Exxon Mobil, BP, and Shell have all ended their energy relationships with Russia.
Americans are asking why can’t lawmakers set up a policy for the nation as a whole since many American corporations are cutting ties with the country; however, the Biden Administration has been largely silent on the matter.
Although Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is typically in lock-step with the White House, when pressed by reporters today, she admitted that she is in favor of cutting Russian energy. Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “At $110 per barrel, America is sending $22M to fund Putin’s war machine. . . It’s time for Biden to sanction Russian oil.”
Perhaps it is time for the Biden Administration to tell its progressive colleagues that we need to pause green energy initiatives until the Ukrainian crisis is over. As long as Putin can fund the war, the war will rage on – oil prices will continue to rise, and Americans will continue to suffer economically. Cutting Russian oil would help the Ukrainian people, and it would help the pocketbooks of Americans.
While many lawmakers across the aisle are in favor of doing something in a bipartisan way, sanction Russian oil, President Biden. This is the best way to help Americans and Ukrainians as well.