Joe Biden felt a need to escape the luxury of the White House for the holiday.
So just before burning a few tons of jet fuel and emitting fresh carbon emissions on the four-hour flight to Nantucket, President Climate Change ordered the Energy Department to release 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s precious Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
He says his decisive action will help ease the gasoline price surge. Yeh, right. The only thing his PR move will do is get him one, maybe two, news cycles’ publicity from sympathetic D.C. media types who Uber everywhere anyway.
That strategic reserve is an immense stash of oil purchased at lower prices by savvy previous presidents, including most recently Donald Trump, and pumped into salt caverns deep underground at four sites in Texas and Louisiana. Currently, it contains some 612 million barrels of oil of its maximum 714 million.
That can seem like a lot of oil; though it’s barely enough to fuel the country for six months. Then, you compare it to the proven oil reserves beneath just Saudi Arabia’s desert, which are 266,578,000,000 barrels.
(A barrel of oil, by the way, contains about 42 gallons, which through refining produce roughly 20 gallons of gasoline, 12 gallons of diesel, four gallons of jet and rocket fuels, and other material like asphalt.)
The U.S. reserve is like your personal rainy-day fund for when government’s pandemic lock-down costs your job. It was created as a major national security asset in 1975 after Arab oil producers halted exports to the U.S. for resupplying Israel’s military during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, which they lost.
The Reserve, however, was intended for real emergencies, not PR stunts. In 2011, Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was busy bombing Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi out of office, released 30 million barrels to cover supply disruptions.
George H.W. Bush released 17 million in 1991 for similar disruptions during the first Gulf War and his son released 11 million barrels to bolster regional supplies after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Joe Biden’s “genuine emergency” is of his own making — the continued plummet in job approval tied to the continued rise in gas prices. And, of course, his bumbling ham-handed. sales pitch and implementation of Trump’s COVID vaccines.
Biden assured us last spring the monthly jump in prices was merely a passing blip. Trouble is, the blip has become a blizzard. It’s worsened each month.
Perhaps you’ve noticed Joe Biden does a lot of assuring that turns out to resemble an eight-letter barnyard epithet. Don’t worry, folks, it’s just an iceberg and we’re unsinkable. Don’t worry, folks, we’ll evacuate every American before U.S. troops leave Afghanistan. Don’t worry, folks, trillions of dollars in newly-printed bucks don’t cause inflation. In fact, spending even more will help fight it.
Well, assuming he’s politically conscious, which might be an assumption too far, Joe Biden himself should worry about inflation because it is very, very unpopular, politically radioactive, and understandably so.
In reality, it’s a hidden tax on anyone who buys anything, eating up their raises, paychecks, savings, and hopes of getting ahead. It corrodes optimism, which is at root what fueled voters’ unthinking ouster of Trump.
Ask Jimmy Carter about his 1980 experience when inflation hit 13.2 percent and he barely won six states with but 41 percent of his reelection vote. Guess what? This October’s inflation rate was halfway there, 6.2 percent over costs last October, when someone loud but decisive was president.
Especially obvious in the rising costs is the explosion of gasoline prices, up more than $1.50 a gallon since Donald Trump left office after he created an under-appreciated national energy independence.
On Joe Biden’s first day in office, he killed the Keystone XL pipeline with its 40,000 jobs, designed to bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas. He then endorsed Vladimir Putin’s undersea gas pipeline to Europe, which will weaken NATO and U.S. LNG sales. Now, Biden’s slapping new sanctions on that almost-complete project. Which is it?
Biden has also canceled U.S. drilling leases and put vast tracts off-limits for future exploration and drilling, both on and offshore. Last week, he took a motorcade of combustion-engine SUVs to be seen driving an electric Hummer.
You probably saw all the media flak he took for that hypocrisy. No, you didn’t. Crickets.
Biden’s all the time talking about an end to fossil fuels. All of which reduced supplies and market confidence while boosting fears of future shortages, which in turn boost prices.
When Biden was elected, the average gallon price of gas was $2.11. When he took office, it was $2.24, two months later $2.71, by May $2.89, July $3.12, September $3.17, today $3.39. Some California pumps now charge more than $5.
To cover his tracks, last week with a straight face a desperate Joe Biden called for an investigation into the gas price surge he caused. Media delivered that with straight faces, too.
Biden or whoever is pulling his strings is counting on inattentive voters of the type that accidentally elected him while voting against Trump. They’ll want to validate their backhanded choice.
And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm laughing at rising gas prices doesn’t help: “We’re working through an energy transition.” Well, not in her lifetime or Biden’s.
Biden has also begged OPEC oil producers to increase supplies to reduce prices. Which, of course, would reduce their revenues. They’ve seen Joe Biden in action at recent foreign confabs. So, with impunity, they replied, “C’mon, man.”
Let’s be honest here. Borrowing 50 million barrels from a strategic oil reserve for political purposes is a useless exercise, even if other countries do the same on a smaller scale. It’s not going to change anything. And the reserve will be refilled at higher prices.
First of all, it’s a drop in the barrel, literally. May seem large, But it’s merely eight percent of the reserve. That’s less than three days’ average U.S. domestic oil use and only 44 hours of OPEC production.
As our Salem Media teammate Ed Morrissey wrote:
Essentially, Biden has supplied enough oil to bootstrap consumers for the weekend. Gas up!