The White House announced Thursday that President Joe Biden has ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve for six months in an effort to lower energy prices, which have risen sharply since the United States and its allies imposed harsh sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
According to the White House, Biden is also urging Congress to impose financial penalties on oil and gas corporations who lease public lands but do not produce. In addition, he plans to use the Defense Production Act to stimulate the mining of essential minerals for batteries in electric vehicles, as part of a larger effort to transition toward cleaner energy sources and minimize the use of fossil fuels.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, Americans use over 21 million barrels of oil each day, with approximately 40 percent of it allocated to gasoline. This number accounts for roughly one-fifth of total global oil consumption.
Domestic oil production accounts for more than half of US consumption, but high prices have prevented industries from returning to pre-pandemic levels of supply. The United States produces 11.7 million barrels per day on average, down from 13 million barrels in early 2020.
In November, the Biden administration announced the release of 50 million barrels from the strategic reserve in collaboration with other countries. Following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States and 30 other countries agreed to release an extra 60 million barrels from reserves, with half of the total coming from the U.S.