HENRICO, V.A. — Following a push from U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, President Biden today set forth plans to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to lower gasoline and fuel prices that have increased during a period of supply chain disruptions.
Earlier this week, Spanberger and eight of her House colleagues sent a letter to President Biden urging him to tap U.S. reserves to boost domestic supply and put downward pressure on prices for families in Virginia and across the country.
Following this letter, President Biden announced that the Department of Energy will make available 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, along with complementary actions from China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
“As a consequence of our global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, families across Virginia are facing sticker shock at the gas pump,” said Spanberger. “As we all work to continue our economic recovery, I appreciate that President Biden is taking the necessary steps to bring down costs for Virginians. We must consider every avenue to assuage this burden on families across our communities, and utilizing crude oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a concrete action we can take to help.”
The letter was led by U.S. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) and Darren Soto (D-FL-9). Additionally, the letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA-3), Angie Craig (D-MN-2), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-6), Jared Huffman (D-CA-2), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Katie Porter (D-CA-45).
Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.
Dear President Biden:
We write to express support for your actions to help Americans who are burdened with high gasoline and fuel prices. We know ensuring affordable and reliable energy is a top priority for your administration. We must use all tools at our disposal to bring down gasoline prices in the short term. We agree with Senator Reed and our other colleagues in the Senate that have called for a ban on crude oil exports and a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The price of oil is significantly affected by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC is manipulating gas prices by constraining supply so that it will not meet the increased demand. A ban on U.S. crude oil exports will boost domestic supply and put downward pressure on prices for American families. We also support using the additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program from the American Rescue Plan to help families with heating costs this winter.
In the medium and long term, we must achieve energy independence and price stability through climate smart investments. We appreciate that your Build Back Better agenda will save families an average of $500 a year on energy costs. Electrifying our cars, investing in public transit, and supporting electricity generation from renewables like solar, wind, and geothermal will reduce demand for gasoline, bring down the price at the pump, and provide long term stability. These investments will break our reliance on the boom-and-bust cycle of gas prices and put our country on track to meet our climate goals.
The investment in renewable energy will eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and ensure we win the competition for a clean energy future against our global competitors. We want the solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and batteries of the future made in America and not in China. We should not be importers but lead the world in clean energy jobs and products.
We respectfully ask that you give these options and others your full and fair consideration, consistent with applicable statutes and regulations to ensure affordable and reliable energy for American families. We look forward to working with you on this urgent issue.