ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The U.S. plans to purchase three million barrels of crude oil in an effort to replenish the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which is at its lowest level since October 1983, reports CNN.
Three million barrels is not nearly enough to replenish the large amount of oil that has been released in recent years. The Biden Administration has released copious amounts from the reserve over the past two years to help relieve U.S. gas prices. The reserve has 362 million barrels in it, and when President Biden took office, the stockpile was at 638 barrels.
“Analysis from the Department of the Treasury indicates that SPR releases last year, along with coordinated releases from international partners, reduced gasoline prices by up to roughly 40 cents per gallon compared to what they would have been absent these drawdowns,” wrote the U.S. Energy Department in a statement.
The Energy Department said the purchase of these barrels is the beginning of its effort to replenish the reserves at a “good deal” for taxpayers, with the price of oil currently trading around $71 a barrel. The administration had previously said it would start to repurchase oil for the SPR when prices were at or below about $67 to $72 a barrel.
Oil prices spiked to well over $100 a barrel after Russia invaded Ukraine, but they have slid amid recession fears, interest rate hikes and better-than-feared supply from Russia and the United States.