Biden’s SPR Depletion Hurt America’s Energy Security

The Biden administration is in hot water over its handling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the nation’s emergency oil supply. White House Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security, Amos Hochstein, recently asserted that the administration did not “miss an opportunity” to refill the SPR when oil prices were lower. “We did that,” Hochstein said, adding that “the SPR still has a significant amount of resources in it, which we need for emergencies.”

But critics are far from convinced, especially given the “40-year low” in our oil reserves and the surging global crude prices. Markets guru Larry McDonald cautioned that the U.S. is “playing with fire” by letting its oil reserves plunge dramatically at such a critical time.

The SPR was initially created in 1974 as a buffer against the volatility of global oil markets. The Biden administration is playing fast and loose with this strategic asset. The reserve has been tapped into repeatedly, especially since the onset of the Ukraine war, ostensibly to “cap energy prices.” But the actual situation reveals a far more troubling picture.

One must question the administration’s commitment to maintaining America’s energy independence. The SPR’s depleted levels make the U.S. increasingly reliant on oil imports, exposing us to potential supply disruptions and price hikes. Such a risky strategy not only imperils our energy security but also puts additional upward pressure on inflation, already at a multi-decade high.

As gas prices ascend to their “highest seasonal level in a decade,” the domino effect on inflation could seriously jeopardize Joe Biden’s chances for re-election. It’s concerning that the administration is open to using the SPR as a political tool to control public perception of inflation rather than as a critical asset for national emergencies.

While the administration touts its purchases to refill the SPR, these come too little, too late. A meager 2.9 million barrels were bought in August, with plans for another 3.2 million in September. Compare that to the Trump administration’s attempt to spend $3 billion to refill the reserve when oil prices were at a mere $24 a barrel, a move stymied by Congressional Democrats who labeled it a “bailout for big oil.”

This points to a more significant problem — the administration’s ideological focus on climate policy at the expense of practical energy security. It starkly contrasts Trump’s “drill, baby, drill” approach, aimed at tapping into America’s abundant natural resources.

Larry McDonald observed that the situation “stands to worsen U.S. inflationary pressures,” potentially forcing the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates high. Such a scenario could affect everyone from homebuyers to small business owners, adding another layer to America’s economic challenges.

At a time when Americans are looking for relief at the pump and a rollback of inflation, the Biden administration’s decisions on the SPR offer neither. It’s another chapter in a troubling narrative that questions whether this White House is fully attuned to the everyday concerns of ordinary Americans.