U.S. to Release 1M Barrels of Oil a Day From Reserves as Gas Prices Rise

The Biden administration announced plans Thursday to release an average of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next six months to combat rising gas prices driven by the halt in Russian oil imports.

Other American allies are expected to join the move, releasing some of their own oil reserves as well, with the goal of suppressing the record high gas prices that have been seen across the country in recent months.

The release also calls for Congress to pass legislation incentivizing oil companies with American land to increase production on that land and prioritize the economic well-being of Americans over keeping their own profits high via higher oil and gas prices. The plan outlined in a White House news release would see oil companies pay fees on wells and land they haven't used in years, which the Biden administration estimates at about 12 million acres across the U.S.

Experts have said that the move will likely decrease prices in the short term, according to CNN, but lower prices may not be long-lasting if Biden's plans of increased domestic production fail to materialize. However, even temporarily lower prices could help Biden politically as recent polls have indicated high gas prices, among other inflationary trends, are one of the most significant concerns for many Americans.

"After consultation with allies and partners, the president will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting 1 million additional barrels on the market per day on average—every day—for the next six months," the White House said. "The scale of this release is unprecedented: The world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as [a] bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up."

The administration also said that there are currently 9,000 approved, but still unused, permits for increased production for oil companies that own American land, which is why it is asking Congress to impose fines on companies who refuse to increase production.

The White House indicated that its plan is tied to the Biden administration's promise to decrease America's dependence on other countries for oil, gas and energy while increasing U.S. capacity to produce clean energy. The president is also set to encourage Congress to pass legislation proposed by the administration to increase U.S. commitments to clean energy, according to the White House.

Biden will authorize use of the Defense Production Act to allow for the increased production of materials used in production of things like batteries for electric cars, the White House announced. The move is intended to help decrease American reliance on China and other countries for the required minerals and materials needed to produce clean energy-related products.

"Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries—such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community and tribal consultation standards," the White House said. "The sectors supported by these large capacity batteries—transportation and the power sector—account for more than half of our nation's carbon emissions."

Update 3/31/22, 12:45 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and context.

Joe Biden Gas Prices Oil Reserves
President Joe Biden's administration on Thursday announced plans to release millions of barrels of oil from the country's strategic reserves to combat rising gas prices. Above, Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on COVID-19 in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images