Earlier in March, the Biden administration announced a total boycott of petroleum products from Russia, the world’s largest exporter, in retaliation for Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.
The White House said the goal of the historic release was to bring down gas prices, noting it will take months for additional oil production in the US to come online. A senior administration official told reporters that the US would restock the reserve when oil prices are lower.
The decision comes as petroleum prices on international markets remain at elevated levels, with Brent Crude trading at $108.6 per barrel on Thursday. In the US, gasoline prices have also spiked, averaging $4.26 per gallon across the United States on Thursday, according to the American Automotive Association (AAA).
Biden has billed the price increases as “Putin’s Price Hike,” although a Quinnipiac poll released last week found that 41% of Americans surveyed held Biden responsible for rising prices, with 24% saying the sanctions had caused it and 24% saying oil companies were to blame.
The US has already released a considerable amount of oil from its reserve in recent months in response to rising gasoline prices, which have helped push inflation to its highest level in 40 years. However, after announcing the boycott, Biden announced a massive release of 30 million barrels of oil from the reserve.