Republicans launched a preemptive strike last week against rumored plans by the White House to tap the country’s emergency oil reserves.

Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a 696-million-barrel stockpile stored on the Gulf Coast, is a ploy to score political points amid gas prices that are nearing a national average of $4 per gallon, Republicans argued.

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies – not political disasters,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement Thursday.

“Instead of manipulating the SPR, the White House should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, increase domestic energy exploration, cut red tape, and stop the EPA from shutting down American refineries.”