House GOP Would Like To Outlaw Lower Gas Prices When Joe Biden Is President, Please
Strategic Petroleum Reserve site, Bryan Mound, Texas. Photo: US Department of Energy

Republicans in the House of Representatives are still plenty pissed off that there was no "red wave" in last fall's midterms, so they're introducing a bill to make sure that future presidents won't be able to help Americans the next time gasoline prices spike. If only gas prices had stayed higher, maybe the election would have brought more MAGA crazies into Congress, darn it!

As Politico explainers, the bill, HR 21, would prohibit releases of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve unless the government also allows oil and gas companies to increase production on federal land by the same amount as any drawdown. It's basically a neener-neener messaging bill meant to scold Joe Biden for drawing oil from the oil reserves to offset last year's increased prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, because what Biden shoulda done was make industry pump more oil on federal land instead. Like, even if that took a lot longer to bring down prices, which sure would have helped out Republicans, if not consumers.

This dumb thing won't have a chance in the Senate, and President Biden has already announced he plans to veto it. But it does at least give Republicans a chance to whine that the drawdowns from the reserve have hurt national security somehow, even though presidents and even Congress have in the past used the reserves to cool down fuel prices. The oil reserve was established in the '70s following the Arab Oil Embargo, when cars like my mother's 1973 Chevy, Vlad the Impala, suddenly became a terrible idea. You want a threat to national security? That thing can't be driven near Naval Air Stations lest F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots attempt a carrier landing upon its capacious hood.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) insisted that the bill is needed because tight world oil supplies due to Russia's invading Ukraine just wasn't the right kind of emergency, you see, and shame on Biden for not drill-baby-drilling more oil out of the ground and burning it. Said Kramer, "You don’t need an emergency reserve to bail you out of high energy prices. You just need to use the Bakken or Permian Basin." Especially since an increase in production would have left gas prices higher closer to the election. Shame on Biden for actually helping Americans pay less for gasoline.

Moar: Hey! Know What Ends When We All Have Electric Nerd Cars? Bitching About Gas Prices!

This is where we remind you again that one of the best things about the transition to renewable energy and widespread EV adoption — in addition to keeping the planet livable for large mammals like wildebeest and Kevin Cramer — is that we'll finally be rid of political ads about gas prices, the stupidest campaign issue ever because presidents have little control over them, apart from easing them a bit by releasing oil from the reserves. Yes, presidents from both parties have done it, too.

Biden’s releases last year — including a massive release just before the election — totaled more than 200 million barrels of oil from the reserve, a network of underground salt caverns that now holds 372 million barrels. That’s down from 638 million barrels when Biden took office and the reserve’s lowest level since 1983. [Say, who was president then? We bet it was Obama. — Dok]

The Treasury Department has estimated that the Biden administration’s releases reduced gasoline prices by up to 40 cents per gallon. The national average price was $3.446 a gallon Tuesday, down from an all-time high of $5.016 in June.

Not that any of that stopped Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Georgia) from falsely claiming that Biden had drawn down the reserves last year "because of the war on fossil fuels this administration declared when they first went into office. [...] He is jeopardizing our energy security, which jeopardizes our national security."

You know what really would have demonstrated a war on fossil fuels, jackass? Letting gas prices go so high that people would really think twice before driving anywhere. But that would have put a bunch of planet-wrecking goobers in charge of Congress, so instead Biden's going with incentives that will speed decarbonization instead.

Not that Democrats are too worried about the GOP call for higher gas prices, since as Politico notes, it's an opportunity

to remind the public that gasoline prices have fallen on their watch.

The administration has “used [the SPR] very reasonably for exactly the situation it should be used — for an emergency situation that is brought on by worldwide factors, whether it’s a war in the Middle East or a war in Ukraine,” said Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, in an interview.

Democrats also point out that the GOP insistence on increasing production on federal land is some bullshit too, since only about 10 percent of national fossil fuel production is on federal leases anyway.

In any case, the administration is already getting started on refilling the reserves, which we suppose some bright Republican will declare is proof that Biden doesn't think climate change is real either, because if we could just use solar and wind, why would he even want oil reserves before the transition happens, huh?

And then the MAGAchuds will install gas stoves in the back of their diesel 4X4's and post photos to Twitter to own the libs, the end.


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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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