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Pallone Introduces the Buy Low and Sell High Act, Legislation to Bolster Energy Independence and Keep Gas Prices Falling

Jan 20, 2023
Press Release
Legislation Comes as House Republicans Plan Action to Hamstring the President’s Ability to Release Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) reintroduced the Buy Low and Sell High Act for the 118th Congress today. The legislation creates an Economic Petroleum Reserve designed to continue the trend of falling gasoline prices and make money for American taxpayers by empowering the Department of Energy (DOE) to buy oil when prices are low and sell oil when prices are high. The bill answers the need to lower energy prices and boost American energy independence and comes as House Republicans put forward a bill to ban Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) releases until Big Oil is granted more drilling access on public lands.

Joining Pallone in introducing the bill are Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN), Jason Crow (D-CO), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and David Trone (D-MD).

“In the coming weeks, House Republicans plan to put forward a reckless SPR bill to ban the federal government from responding to volatile oil prices until their Big Oil friends get open access to drill on public lands. It’s a giveaway to the same fossil fuel industry that’s been profiteering off hardworking Americans the past year, and it’s not serious legislating,” Pallone said. “My bill proposes meaningful, thoughtful solutions for managing our SPR – including by empowering DOE to buy oil when prices are low and sell when prices are high. Not only would this commonsense measure protect drivers from price fluctuations and make money for taxpayers, but my bill also uses the proceeds from those sales to build out our nation’s electric vehicle infrastructure. It’s a win-win, and it represents the kind of serious solutions Americans deserve to see from Congress.”

After the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo of 1973 – 1974, Congress created the SPR to insulate Americans from global oil supply disruptions. While President Biden has successfully used the SPR to lower gas prices – which have fallen more than $1.69 per gallon since June – Pallone believes new authorities are needed to ensure that OPEC and Russia cannot continue to manipulate global oil prices to the detriment of American consumers.

The Buy Low and Sell High Act gives the President the ability to better protect American consumers by designating a subset of the SPR as the “Economic Petroleum Reserve” (EPR). It grants DOE the ability to sell barrels from the EPR when prices are high – above $90 per barrel – ensuring that Americans get immediate price relief instead of waiting months or years. DOE would then also have the authority to purchase oil for the EPR when prices are low – below $60 per barrel – to refill our reserves at a lower cost.

The new EPR would consist of up to 350 million barrels of oil. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that the United States made nearly $4 billion in profit from President Biden’s recent SPR sales.

In addition to creating the EPR, Pallone’s bill also:

  • Prohibits barrels stored within the SPR from being exported or sold to entities owned, controlled, or influenced by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any other country under U.S. sanctions;
  • Establishes strategic gasoline and diesel reserves in every region of the United States, ensuring product can be deployed immediately during emergencies, such as the Colonial Pipeline malware attack;
  • Reduces our reliance on foreign oil and empowers states to lead the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by investing profits from oil sales in state EV infrastructure programs; and
  • Ensures that the federal government leads by example and sets targets for acquiring a fully zero-emission federal vehicle fleet.

Bill text can be found HERE and a section-by-section HERE.