Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo called President Joe Biden’s decision to continue to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve “dangerous,” noting the United States uses a lot more oil than it did in 1984, the last time the SPR level was this low.
“This is very dangerous,” Bartiromo said on the Fox News program “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday.
“This is supposed to be a reserve of oil that is needed in terms of crises and emergencies, and he’s selling this oil even to adversaries like China as a way to keep gasoline prices lower going into the midterm elections. It’s totally dangerous to be playing politics with this reserve,” she added.
“This is the lowest numbers that we’ve seen in this reserve since 1984. The problem is that we’ve using 27 percent more oil than we were in 1984,” Bartiromo said.
POLITICAL PETROLEUM RESERVE?: The Biden WH continues to chip away at our nation’s emergency oil reserve. With the midterms just weeks away, is this questionable timing? @MariaBartiromo joins us with her take: @BillHemmer @DanaPerino pic.twitter.com/r9p01LDvTv
— America’s Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) October 20, 2022
The federal government established the SPR in 1975 following the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74. It has a storage capacity of 714 million barrels, making it the largest supply of emergency crude in the world, according to the Department of Energy.
After a series of sales authorized by Biden in March, the reserve currently sits at approximately 405 million barrels.
On Wednesday, the president announced that his administration would be selling an additional 15 million barrels from the SPR.
Right now, our Strategic Petroleum Reserve has about 400 million barrels of oil – more than enough for any supply emergency.
The Department of Energy will release another 15 million barrels to help bring gas prices down.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 19, 2022
In announcing the latest release Wednesday, Biden recounted that he authorized the selling of the oil from the SPR in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February and the spike in gas prices that followed.
“And when the price of gas goes up, other expenses get cut. That’s why I have been doing everything in my power to reduce gas prices since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused these price hikes — these prices to spike and rattled international oil markets,” he said.
“And I’ve told my team behind me here to be prepared to look further — look for further releases in the months ahead if needed,” Biden added.
The president argued since the reserve is still more than half full, that’s enough should an emergency arise.
Look at what Biden has done to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve … and gas prices are still close to a $1.50 more per gallon than when he took office. pic.twitter.com/rx6XPK0rPy
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 19, 2022
He added that the U.S. needs to increase domestic production.
According to Energy Information Administration, the U.S. produced 11.8 million barrels per day in July, the latest figure available, which is down from the country’s peak production of roughly 13 million in November 2019 under the Trump administration.
Bartiromo accused Biden of speaking out of both sides of his mouth. On the one side, he’s calling for increased production, while on the other doing everything he can to stymie it.
The current administration has leased the fewest number of acres for oil drilling, both on land and offshore, of any administration going back to World War II.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month, “President [Joe] Biden’s Interior Department leased 126,228 acres for drilling through Aug. 20, his first 19 months in office, [an] analysis found. No other president since Richard Nixon in 1969-70 leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres at this stage in his first term.”
There have been just six offshore leases under Biden compared to 60 under former President Barack Obama at the same point in his presidency, according to Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute.
Biden admin leased fewer acres on federal lands/waters than any president dating back to Truman. We need policies like a new 5-yr offshore leasing plan (@Interior), more onshore leases (@BLMNational) & pipelines that provide REAL energy security. Our plan: https://t.co/tiLcs9Hpz7 https://t.co/TqLw9E2cRW pic.twitter.com/ngTfoFSvoa
— Mike Sommers (@mj_sommers) October 19, 2022
Upon assuming office in January 2021, Biden took several steps under the auspices of addressing climate change — including a moratorium on oil drilling on federal lands.
Biden denied Wednesday that his decision to release more oil from the SPR is politically motivated, particularly given the proximity to the midterm elections.
BIDEN: Releasing more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is “not politically motivated at all!” pic.twitter.com/7idfP5NCSM
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 19, 2022
“Look, it makes sense,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for how long now? It’s not politically motivated at all.”