Should Bush Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

Rainy day supply draws debate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 11:58 AM CDT
The Stena Bulk oil tanker unloads oil at the BP terminal at the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Monday, April 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – The government is pumping 60,000 barrels of oil a day into a “rainy day” reserve, but with oil prices at a record high, many argue that it’s already raining. That includes the presidential candidates, all of whom want to at least stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve—and Hillary Clinton wants to release some of it. But President Bush maintains that the reserve is untouchable.

The reserve is intended for emergency supply interruptions like Hurricane Katrina, and experts are divided over whether it could even help now. “It’s an incredibly tight market when every drop matters,” said one. “But looking at the SPR to alleviate market pressure is only a short-term fix.” The government pays just $27.73 a barrel, others note, so stopping the flow could be a mistake.