What is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

DALLAS (AP) — President Joe Biden is again dipping into the nation’s petroleum stockpile to try to corral rising energy prices.

The White House announced Thursday that Biden ordered the daily release of 1 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve for the next six months. Biden will also ask Congress to penalize oil and gas companies that lease public land but aren’t producing energy.

The administration hopes that tapping the petroleum reserve will buy time and tamp down gasoline prices long enough until domestic producers can boost output.

Global oil prices were rising even before Russia invaded Ukraine in February. When Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports in early March, he acknowledged it would come at a cost to American consumers.

This is the third time Biden has turned to the strategic petroleum reserve in a little over four months. Back in November, he ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil. Then, in his state of the union speech in March, Biden announced another 30 million barrels as part of a multi-nation effort to boost the oil supply.

Tapping the reserve among the few things a president can do alone to try to control inflation, which makes Americans poorer and often creates a political liability for the party in control of the White House.

Here is a look at what’s involved: