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Energy Secretary Warns of Higher Gas Prices with Proposed Oil Bill

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has warned Republicans in a letter that limiting President Joe Biden's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would undermine national security, cause crude shortages, and raise gasoline prices.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

The bill, called the Strategic Production Response Act, was introduced by Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers. It would limit presidential authority in releasing oil from the strategic reserve, except for a severe energy supply interruption.

Bill Would Weaken Critical Energy Security Tool

In the letter, Granholm stated that the bill would "significantly weaken this critical energy security tool, resulting in more oil supply shortages in times of crisis and higher gasoline prices for Americans." The administration has faced bipartisan concern over the current inventories of the emergency reserves. The letter represents the administration's latest efforts to defend its actions and ease concerns about the state of reserves.

Biden's Use of Reserve Lowered Gas Prices

Granholm also cited estimates from the Treasury Department that the administration's use of the SPR cut prices for American consumers at the pump by as much as 40 cents per gallon. The White House has repeatedly argued such drawdowns were necessary to help lower gas prices and help Americans who were paying more than $5 per gallon in parts of the country. Prices have plummeted in recent months, but disagreements over energy policy remain.