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Biden announces release of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve, blames Putin, oil companies

Biden called escalating gas prices as the result of the Russia-Ukraine War "Putin's Price Hike"

Published: March 31, 2022 1:52pm

Updated: March 31, 2022 2:56pm

President Biden on Thursday afternoon said he would release 1 million barrels a day from the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help slow rising gas costs in the U.S. – while putting much of the blame for soaring energy costs on "Putin's Price Hike" and oil companies whom he says are putting profit ahead of oil production.

He said American families' decisions about filling up their vehicle's gas tank "should hinge on whether a dictator demands war."

Biden announced a two-part plan to "to serve as a bridge" between the energy shortage and the end of the Russia-Ukraine War – which he called "Putin's War" – and domestic production increases.

To encourage domestic production, Biden will call on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases on public land that they haven't used in years. 

The president also blame the pandemic for higher prices at the gas pumps – which he said over the past year have increases the average cost of a gallon from $3.30 to $4.20. He said demand "plummeted" amid pandemic lockdowns, then soared as virus numbers dropped, resulting in higher prices because supply could not meet demand. 

He suggested that oil companies have not ramped up production to meet demand to take advantage of high prices results for demand exceeding supply.

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