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President Biden taps oil reserves to control US gas prices

Posted at 7:18 PM, Mar 30, 2022

President Joe Biden has ordered the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve in a bid to control energy prices.

The president said the move could mean a fairly significant drop at the gas pump, potentially up to 35 cents per gallon.

Biden said Thursday that the effort is part of a bid to control energy prices that have spiked as the U.S. and allies have imposed steep sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

"Our prices are rising because of Putin's action," the president said. "There isn't enough supply, and the bottom line is— if we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now."

The U.S. plans to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when gas prices come down.

The President also plans to call on oil producers to pay fees on wells from their leases that haven't been used in years, and on acres of public land that hoard oil and don't produce it.

"Families can't afford to let companies sit on their hands," Biden said.

As theNew York Times reported, if fully enacted, the White House plan could release up to 180 million barrels from reserves. There are currently about 550 million barrels in the reserve, and it has a reported total capacity of 714 million barrels.

Biden also announced Thursday that he is invoking the Defense Production Act so the U.S. can produce more raw materials to support clean energy investments, including batteries for electrical vehicles.