Gas prices have more than doubled under President Obama, a feat unmatched even by Jimmy Carter. Understandably worried about the upcoming election, some congressional Democrats and at least one former administration official have been floating the idea that the president should release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way to lower prices.
Any price reduction caused by a withdrawal of oil from the reserve will be temporary. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, U.S. oil consumption was about 18.8 million barrels per day in 2009, the last year for which figures are available. The reserve inventory currently stands at just under 700 million barrels, representing just 39 days of U.S. consumption.
Last year, Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve—the largest withdrawal ever—as part of a 60 million barrel release coordinated by the International Energy Agency. This massive release, in response to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries during the “Arab Spring” revolts, flooded the market last summer, but by January prices were on their way back up again.
Never before has a president released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without having replaced previous withdrawals. But, already carrying a $1.3 trillion deficit, Obama has not been able to replace last year’s drawdown. To withdraw from the reserve two years in a row would be unprecedented; moreover, further reduction of our strategic reserve would increase the risk of a serious shortage in the event of a real emergency.
Read More at Human Events. By Mark LaRochelle.
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