President Biden announced today that his administration would authorize the release of an unprecedented amount of oil from the United States’ strategic oil reserve in an effort to reduce gas prices while also pressuring energy companies to expand supply from their existing petroleum leases.
“After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months,” the White House announced. “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 bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up.”
BREAKING: Pres. Biden announces he has authorized the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strategic reserve to combat rising gas prices. https://t.co/Wnvz0e9BLD pic.twitter.com/60BMHQOSnH
— ABC News (@ABC) March 31, 2022
The plan anticipates the distribution of around 180 million barrels of oil and was made in consultation with America’s overseas allies who have also been affected by the steep rise in oil prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted the global energy supply chain.
The plan also anticipates that the federal government will restock the reserve once oil prices start to drop, another incentive for energy companies to ramp up production.
While fact-checkers may insist that there is no immediate correlation between the price of crude oil and the per-gallon price our citizens pay at the pump, gasoline prices tend to track rising oil prices fairly closely.
Naturally, Donald Trump, in his role as a defeated ex-president, felt compelled to criticize Biden’s decision to tap the reserves in a fact-free, grammatically-challenged press release that completely misrepresents his own record when it comes to the strategic oil reserve.
While Trump falsely claims that the reserves were virtually empty in the 50 years before his administration — an easily disprovable lie — his statements regarding his build-up of the reserves is an even bigger whopper, as this refutation from New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker so deftly proves.
Trump: "So after 50 years of being virtually empty, I built up our oil reserves during my administration … to 100% full.”
Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Jan 2017: 695 million barrels
Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Jan 2021: 638 million barrelshttps://t.co/P4esCflAp1
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) March 31, 2022
As Trump and other Republican politicians attack Biden for his decision to use the reserves to help stabilize supply and lower gasoline prices, accusing the administration of using the reserve as a purely political tool to help Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, they ignore the fact that Trump himself tapped the reserves for his own political gain in 2019 when oil production in Saudi Arabia was curtailed by 50% after a series of drone strikes related to that Islamic kingdom’s reprehensible war in Yemen damaged its oil processing facilities.
One is tempted to simply ignore anything Trump says and assume that its intellectual worth is equivalent to the content of supermarket tabloids that prominently feature stories about alien abductions and celebrity sex scandals.
Unfortunately, with the threat of another run for the presidency — a contest that he lost in such overwhelming numbers of the popular vote last time — still possible, ignoring Trump is a dangerous strategy for Democrats and progressives alike.
His lies must be countered at every available opportunity. The primary reason that the truth has not yet set us free is the fact that Trump and his Republican cronies have spent so much time obscuring the truth with their lies, misstatements, and manipulated “alternative facts.”
If Trump is concerned about a lack of petroleum in America’s strategic reserves, perhaps we can find a way to tap the enormous quantities of energy stored in the bloviating gasbag of lies that is Donald Trump. That should be enough to power our nation long enough to replenish our oil reserves.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.