Congress Votes to Stop Stockpiling Oil

House and Senate want no more sent to national reserve
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 9:44 PM CDT
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 13, 2008, to discuss energy policy in relation to President Bush's upcoming trip to the Middle East.    (AP Photo/Brendan Hoffman)
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(Newser) – The House and Senate voted today for a pause in deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to stem rising prices, the Los Angeles Times reports. The White House expressed skepticism about the measure, but the Senate backed it 97-1 and the House passed a similar bill 385-25. It is expected to be sent to Bush within days.

"Why on earth should we be putting oil underground at a time of record high prices?” argued Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan, the measure's sponsor. Diverting 70,000 barrels a day from the reserve could bring gas prices down between 2 and 5 cents per gallon. The US uses 21 million barrels of oil a day; the reserve currently has 700 million barrels.