(CNN)President Joe Biden on Thursday announced an unprecedented release of oil from US reserves and several steps his administration is taking to punish oil companies for not increasing production from unused leases on federal land.
The steps are an attempt to reduce gas prices while also putting an onus on oil companies to increase supply. The dramatic step, which Biden announced from the White House, confronts what has become a looming political problem months ahead of the midterm elections.
"Our prices are rising because of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's actions. There isn't enough supply. And the bottom line is if we want lower gas prices we need to have more oil supply right now," Biden said.
The President added: "Your family budgets to fill a tank -- none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war."
The release would amount to 180 million barrels of oil. The President said it would act as a "wartime bridge" as US and global oil production ramps back up after the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made in coordination with US allies overseas, including in Europe, though officials declined to say whether other countries were also releasing barrels from their reserves.
"Together, our combined efforts will supply well over a million barrels a day. Nations (are) coming together to deny Putin the ability to weaponize his energy resources against American families and families and democracies around the world," Biden said.