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Press Release Published: May 26, 2022

Comer, Keller, Oversight Republicans Push for DOE’s Plan to Replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Throughout the past year, the Biden Administration has rushed to release oil from the SPR with the hopes of lowering skyrocketing domestic gas prices.

WASHINGTON— Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.), and Oversight Committee Republicans pushed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm to provide the Biden Administration’s plan to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is intended for emergency supply chain disruptions—not as a stop gap to make up for the Democrats’ war on domestic energy production. In their letter to Secretary Granholm, the Republican lawmakers emphasized how Americans continue to suffer from skyrocketing gasoline prices despite the unprecedented release of oil from U.S. reserves and requested an immediate briefing to ensure the Administration is working to refill the SPR and encourage domestic energy production.

“Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are conducting oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent announcement regarding a long-term replenishment plan for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “The Biden Administration has made diminishing domestic energy production a policy priority—causing the price of gasoline to skyrocket. Numerous times throughout the past year, the Biden Administration has released oil from the SPR with the hopes of lowering domestic gas prices. However, despite these actions, gas prices continue to rise and now stand on average at $4.60, the highest-ever average price since AAA began collecting data in 2000. In addition to that, for the first time ever, gas now costs over $4.00 dollars per gallon in every single state. Now more than ever, the DOE should establish policies that strive to produce more domestic energy instead of using an emergency oil supply in a failed attempt to curb inflation.”

On May 5, 2022, DOE announced a buyback process to replenish a fraction of the 180 million emergency barrels that were previously released by the Biden Administration. As of May 13, 2022, the stockpile in the SPR was 538 million barrels, which is the lowest amount since 1987. The SPR was created in 1973 so the U.S. would have a stockpile of crude oil supply in the case of an emergency. The SPR currently has the capacity to hold 727 million barrels of oil, but after the Biden Administration’s announcement that it plans to release 180 million additional barrels over the next six months, the supply will be critically low.

“We request a briefing to better understand how the DOE intends to implement policies that increase domestic energy production while also restoring the SPR to its intended purpose of protecting the United States from global supply disruption,” continued the Republican lawmakers. “Instead of relying on false promises that a release from the SPR will reduce gas prices, the U.S. should enact polices that re-position itself as a major global energy producer. The American people deserve to know more about DOE’s plan to backfill the SPR. Americans are suffering from record high 8.3 percent inflation including an energy index increase of 30 percent over the last 12 months. The Administration owes the American people answers.”

 The letter to Secretary Granholm can be found here.