Downing: The president has raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve into a national emergency



Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana got it right: Over the past two years, President Joe Biden stalled domestic energy production, begged Saudi Arabia to send more oil to America, and drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — all in his effort to lower gas prices in advance of the 2022 election.

It’s at the point where the national oil reserve created in 1975 to be available in the event of a national emergency is becoming its own emergency. 

Under the Biden Administration, the midterm election and spiking gasoline prices created a political crisis for Democrats, one that the president solved by draining 42% of what was in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when he took office.

Biden abused the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, says Rep. Stephanie Brice of Oklahoma. The 638 million barrels of emergency oil in January of 2021 is down to 371 million barrels in January of 2023.

How much is that in real terms? 371 million barrels is not much more than one barrel per American, which will make enough gasoline to power your car for 280 miles, give or take a hill.

Biden said just before the November election that the administration would, after 18 months of draining the reserve, begin to refill it in the first quarter of 2023. The Department of Energy put out contracts to buy three million barrels of oil from producers at a price between $70-$78 a barrel. It was not much, but it was a start of less than 1 percent.

The bidding period closed in late December and bids were to be reviewed and awarded on Jan. 13, with deliveries expected to be poured back into Big Hill Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Beaumont, Texas in February. It would restore less than 1 percent of what has been removed from the emergency supply by the administration, but it was a start.

Quietly in January, the Department of Energy decided it did not have any acceptable bids, and simply awarded no bids, without an explanation. There will be no three million barrels put back into the SPR this round and the Department of Energy has clammed up about it.

Reasonable people ask why. While DOE won’t say so, producers don’t think $70 is an attractive price, when all signals point to oil being priced on the exchanges in the $80-$95 range for the foreseeable future. Crude oil prices surged to their highest in seven weeks earlier this week.

House Resolution 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, would put side rails on the Department of Energy by prohibiting the release of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for political purposes. At this point, it appears H.R. 21 is going to get Christmas-treed with as many as 100 amendments and it may lose its momentum or get killed altogether.

The president has vowed to veto the bill in the unlikely event it makes its way to his desk. “He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a White House briefing. H.R. 21, she said, “risks raising these gas prices and making it harder to offer Americans relief in the future.”

Biden wants Americans to believe he has lowered gas prices. Here are the facts: In 2021, gas averaged $3.01 a gallon. Today, gas in America averages $3.50, a nearly 17% increase. 

Time is marching on for this president. It’s year three of his first term. He promised he’d put oil back in the SPR, and now he cannot deliver on that promise. While his policies continue to suppress domestic energy production, and demand around the world is exceeding supply, the president has made the nation a less secure place because he traded our national security for power – his own political power.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.


  1. Perhaps we should withdraw from the foreign monarchy agreements and start retrieving Alaskan clean oil and keep the oil ourselves not give it away for special kindnesses of monarchs et al.

    • Perhaps you should call the gentleman in charge at the white house and suggest that. No doubt he’d be transfixed on your every word.

    • No one is giving away oil. Oil was sold from the SPR at market rate. What “foreign monarchy agreements” are you referring to? Is this something Donald Trump and Jared Kushner assembled with the Saudis? Please do tell.

  2. It doesn’t even matter if Biden has Alzheimer’s. He’s been a complete idiot his entire life. He continues to ruin our country. This is the best the Democrats can do for us?

  3. Par for the course.
    Every time anyone with over a 550 credit score that
    doesn’t get the election stolen from them, they have to spend 2/3 of their term fixing everything that’s be gutted.

  4. If you disguise malice as incompetence, you will be surprised what you can get away with.
    If pResident Brandon wanted to destroy this nation, and make the USA just a middle, perhaps lower ranked country, what, exactly would he do differently?

  5. So, Biden is skewered for inflation and not doing enough about it and then the GOP skewers Biden for doing something to try and lower gas prices? This resolution won’t go anywhere because the GOP knows that releasing more oil from the SPR in the future will also be needed by a Republican president at some point. There’s currently more oil being produced than ever before in the U.S. but all the GOP can talk about is how the Administration won’t issue more permits. Complaints about gas prices are also directly related to the fact that the oil produced in the U.S. goes to the global market, whether that sale goes to the U.S., Europe, or China, producers get an opportunity to make more money on the global market.

    And, a barrel of oil should get most folks more than 280 miles, though Alaskans may see less considering the per capita share of trucks we have here. A barrel of oil nets about 20 gallons of gasoline and 12 gallons of diesel fuel. The average modern car gets 25mpg, so that would be 500 miles, and the average diesel truck gets about 14mpg, so us 3/4 ton owners would likely see closer to 168 miles.

    • “…then the GOP skewers Biden for doing something to try and lower gas prices?”
      No. They do not skewer Biden for “doing something.” They skewer him for doing the wrong thing.
      Tapping into the SPR is like using your 401(k) to buy dinner when you have a safe full of cash available at home.
      We are sitting on a MASSIVE amount of available energy reserves, and simply letting the petro companies do what they do, the SPR could be filled to capacity, fuel prices would drop, and we would not be begging OPEC to produce more oil. But, instead, pResident Biden decides to tap into our reserves.

  6. What is happening to our nation reminds me of a shop I once worked in. This shop was owned by three well to do businessmen who knew nothing about the trade we worked in, so the hired Bob and Steve to run things. And run things they did! Right into the ground. When the businessmen had enough, they sold what was left to Bob and Steve. You guessed it, good old Bob and Steve retired wealthy men. And that boys and girls is the game that is being played on us. The Old Testament tells us, “ If a Man comes to kill You, arise quickly and kill Him”. In our case, violence will only work against us, at this point in history. Think of King, Mandela, Gandhi, an Walensa. They all won their struggles, and they had a lot less to work with than us! Pay no attention to their “bread and Circuses. Start reading, thinking, talking and planing. Do every little thing you can to vex them. When on jury duty, do not allow the railroading of innocent people, use your right as a juror to NULLIFY Their law. Petition your Representatives to NULLIFY unconstitutional laws and uphold the constitutional. Most of those who are itchin to use that badass AR, or that 50 BMG have not a clue as to how that game is played. And that cool dude with all the cool gear, he is a FED my pretty! Do not follow him, he will lead you to Hell. You have RIGHTS, now use them!

  7. Remember when Trump tried to buy 77 million barrels to fill the SPR when prices were below $20 per barrel? Democrats shut that down. Now they can’t even buy 3 million barrels at $70-$78 per barrel. You can make this stuff up, but we need to remember it for those who can’t.

    • Good point Steve-O. I remember $20 oil in about 1990. The opportunity Trump had to buy it at the same price should have been viewed as a once in a lifetime opportunity, which was wasted. How much oil from the SPR was sold to China, and how much did 10% for the big guy come to? Can we use the price cap to buy it on the cheap from Russia? Just wondering.

  8. This is a payback to the CCP in China. They are Biden’s handlers, and he does their bidding. The Biden crime family is making millions off the CCP, selling our secrets and giving them oil and at the same time weakening our military by sending our weapons to Ukraine. On top of all this they pump a Bioweapon into the arms of our military personnel making them sick and damaging their bodies making them less capable of fighting a war. Many Americans continue to feed out of the trough of fake news and do not completely understand the treason that is occurring right in front of them. The insurrection occurred on November 3rd, 2020. After stealing an election, a fake regime was installed in the Whitehouse. Their main purpose is to finish us off and destroy the last free Republic on the earth. They have sold us a big lie for years making us believe we were free while brainwashing a generation of children in their public-school indoctrination camps. We pulled God out of government and stopped teaching our kids about the Constitution, instead allowing an infiltration of Professors and Teachers pumping the lies of communism into their heads. Now they are confusing them with the filth of the LGBT agenda and celebrating drag queens. It all ties together folks, to destroy the underpinnings of faith and family. We need to be on our knees asking God for deliverance from this evil and standing up for our future generation.

  9. We have to be one of the most dumb countries. Can’t figure out why anybody wants to live here except to lie cheat and steel their way to the top. This country is now an cesspool.

    • Mark.. travel much? This country is amazing. It’s the best country on the planet. That’s why everyone is trying to get into it.

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