A reporter recently suggested that the 50 million barrels of oil the Energy Department plans to release would last less than three days. Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, at that moment on Tuesday, had to admit that she didn’t know how many barrels of oil the United States consumes per day.
During a White House briefing on Tuesday, Biden Energy Sec. Granholm outlined the president’s strategy for releasing the barrels of oil currently held in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to maintain “adequate supply” in the face of global shortages and skyrocketing gas prices.
“How many barrels of oil does the United States consume per day?” a reporter questions based on her remarks. The Biden Energy Secretary replies “That number isn’t in front of me. I’m sorry.”
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In 2020, the United States consumed an average of approximately 18.19 million barrels of petroleum per day, for a total of approximately 6.66 billion barrels of petroleum—the lowest annual consumption level since 1995. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the drop in consumption in 2020 from 2019 was the largest recorded annual decline in U.S. petroleum demand and was largely the result of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the reporter pointed out that on the basis of those figures, the administration would release “less than three days’ worth of supply from the Petroleum Reserve.’ Granholm simply nodded, dismissing the somber remark during the briefing.
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Biden’s pressure on the 14-nation OPEC and Russia to increase supply in the global market has had little effect thus far. The administration has blamed higher prices in part on the effects of the economy recovering and resuming operations following the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy companies have also been singled out for alleged anti-competitive behavior. Last week, Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into whether “illegal conduct” is driving up gas prices for Americans.
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“There is mounting evidence that declines in oil prices are not translating into lower gas prices,” the White House stated on Tuesday. According to US data, Americans paid an average of $3.29 per gallon in October. This is clearly the highest since September 2014.
Granholm hailed President Biden Energy decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as evidence of his “commitment to using the tools at our disposal to bring down costs for working families and to sustain our economic recovery.” Based on the data of the Department of Energy, the US Strategic Reserve holds 604.5 million barrels as of November 19.
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