By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
President Joe Biden’s decision to release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to lower gas prices is a “short-sighted Hail Mary,” according to U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis.
The White House on Tuesday announced the U.S. — along with five other countries, including China — will all dip into their national reserves in an effort to assuage the soaring prices.
Lummis said the increase in gas prices — up over $1 per gallon from a year ago — is of Biden’s own doing.
“One of President Biden’s first executive orders stopped new energy leases on federal land,” Lummis said.
“He has continued to push policies that harm Wyoming energy workers and families & raised prices on anyone who relies on fossil fuels to heat their homes or power their vehicles — basically everyone,” she said.
“Turning to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a short-sighted Hail Mary to try and fix the problem he’s actively exacerbating without actually taking responsibility for it,” she added.
It’s particularly hard here in the Cowboy State because of the number of miles Wyomingites drive, per capita — averaging more than 18,000 per year, the highest mileage in the nation.
No other state comes close to that. Alabama is a distant second with drivers averaging 14,500 miles per year.
Gas prices in the U.S. are the highest since President Obama was in office with the national average for a gallon of gas at $3.40 on Monday — up from $2.11 a year ago.
Many analysts believe Tuesday’s action won’t make a difference to consumers.
“For drivers wondering if gasoline prices will get lower…the reality is that this may not happen at all, or only with a significant lag time,” Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil-market research at consulting firm Rystad Energy, told the Wall Street Journal.
Lummis sent a letter to the president on Monday explaining that domestic energy producers have increased prices because of “depressed investment in our production due to regulatory uncertainty.”
“Business leaders are reluctant to make complex, long-term investments in expensive new wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure critical to increasing production and keeping American energy prices low if these projects will be delayed or overly burdened by new, expansive regulations or taxes,” she wrote.