Is a Gas Shortage Coming Our Way?

Is a Gas Shortage Coming Our Way?

( – Near the end of former President Donald Trump’s tenure in office, the average retail price for a gallon of gasoline hovered around $2. And, of course, who can forget the pain Americans experienced at the pumps in the summer of 2022 when that price topped $5/gallon? Now, as the country moves into the spring and summer months, some experts are warning of fuel shortages along the East Coast.

Tanks Running Dry?

According to an article published by Bloomberg, the European Union (EU) ban on Russian fuel imports will begin on February 5 as a part of the sanctions levied against that country after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022. They note that this will severely limit the amount of gasoline that can be distilled by the bloc, and that could mean fewer transatlantic fuel shipments, which typically supplement reserves in the region for the summer months.

Another concern, according to the Bloomberg article, revolves around current stockpiles of fuel in the region, which are at one of the lowest points in a decade or so, coupled with refinery slowdowns due to maintenance over the winter. Some experts are voicing their disagreement with the idea of a looming “shortage,” but that may be more semantics and less actual confidence.

A Newsweek article says they received an email from AAA spokesman Andrew Gross saying that “shortage is a loaded word,” he also told them that supplies can “grow tight” but that there has never been a true shortage in America. That sentiment was echoed by the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, Patrick De Haan, who wrote in his own email to the outlet that “supplies may again be tight this spring… [but] there is no reason to belief [sic] shortages are imminent.”

Selling Security

America’s strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) was established with the intent to protect the country and its allies from manipulation by foreign entities, such as OPEC’s oil embargo of the early 1970s. President Joe Biden began selling off that supply after his policies allowed prices at the pump to spike. On February 4, 2022, there were 587.51 million barrels of oil available, and as of January 27, that had shrunk to 371.58 million.

Led by Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC), 12 members of congress sent a letter to Biden regarding what they framed as a “gross misuse of the SPR in a futile attempt to reduce gas prices.” They were concerned not only with the fact that he was draining the oil but where some of that was headed — and why.

The letter brings up the fact that nearly a million barrels (as of July 26, 2022) of oil from the SPR had been sold to Unipec, a subsidiary of a Chinese corporation called Sinopec, which has financial ties that lead back to the president’s son Hunter Biden.

Both houses of Congress have taken steps to prevent further exports of oil (now totaling almost two million barrels) from the SPR to the People’s Republic of China, an action that Republican lawmakers have condemned, claiming that it helps the Communist nation at the expense of America’s national security.

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