Nov 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden shrinks Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lowest level since 1980s

Data: FactSet, Department of Energy; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Biden administration is on pace to dump millions of barrels of crude oil on the market, shrinking the nation's oil reserve to its low level since 1984.

Why it matters: Biden's decision to tap into the reserve may have helped lower gasoline prices from their $5 highs in June.

Context: The Biden administration hasn't been shy about authorizing oil releases.

  • Biden announced in mid-October that he would authorize the release of more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in December as a way to bring down gas prices.
  • He said 15 million barrels would be released as part of the 180 million barrels that had been announced earlier in 2022.

How it works: The Strategic Petroleum Reserve — which currently has about 402 million barrels of crude oil underground in Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast — is an emergency stockpile that is used to ward off any disruptions to the oil market. Biden has been using it as a way to curb gas prices.

Go deeper: How the U.S. can make billions from selling oil

Go deeper