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Faced with high prices, Biden administration cancels oil purchase to refill U.S. energy stockpile

In March, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had stated that the SPR would be refilled by the end of 2024.

Published: April 3, 2024 12:58pm

The Biden administration is reportedly putting a hold on plans to replenish the nation’s energy stockpiles, citing cost. 

The Energy Department announced it would not be purchasing 3 million barrels of oil as part of an effort to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to Bloomberg, saying it is “keeping the taxpayer’s interest at the forefront.”

The administration’s target for the buys is $79 a barrel, but its purchase of 2.8 million barrels last month averaged approximately $81 per barrel. Oil prices Wednesday on the West Texas Intermediate were over $85 per barrel.

Starting in 2022, President Joe Biden drained the SPR in a bid to lower high gasoline prices, ahead of the midterm elections, leaving the stockpile at its lowest point since the 1980s. In March, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had stated that the SPR would be refilled by the end of 2024.

Citing pressure to keep gasoline prices low ahead of the November presidential election combined with the upward price pressure of summer gasoline blends, experts were skeptical about the administration sticking to the refill schedule.

“Joe Biden drained the SPR for political reasons, cut our domestic production for his climate agenda and now he’s leaving our critical reserve more vulnerable because he’s incompetent. As a result, Americans are paying more at the pump, more at the grocery store and our SPR is less full during a time of rising turmoil in the Middle East,” Daniel Turner, executive director of Power The Future, said in a statement.

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