Idea of the Day: Sell Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
There are very few immediate actions that government can take to stop the oil price escalator. But selling a relatively modest amount of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and promoting oil efficiency could pop the speculative oil price bubble and lower prices.
The United States sits on 705 million barrels of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It was created in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, and designed to provide oil in case of a catastrophic supply disruption. Since it is 97 percent full, we could easily sell a half million barrels of oil per day for 100 days without really increasing our exposure to a catastrophic oil disruption. The SPR would still be at 90 percent capacity, and we would still have nearly two months of oil on hand should all imports stop.
Selling SPR oil should not be the only immediate action to provide relief for American families. A “fuel price oilbate” program could assist low- and middle-income families with high fuel and food prices by allowing them to recoup some of the money spent on the increased cost of gasoline since 2001. Closing outrageous tax loopholes for big oil and recovering lost oil and gas royalties from the Gulf of Mexico could pay for the program. Furthermore, President Bush should urge American consumers and businesses to take a variety of steps to reduce gasoline use, save money, and lower prices.
Selling oil from the SPR, the fuel price oilbate program, and an efficiency push, could reduce prices and assist households most affected by high prices. A proposed “gas tax holiday” will not accomplish either goal. It would take money from the highway trust fund that is a crucial job-creating stimulus, and which our decaying transportation infrastructure requires.
For more information on this topic, please see:
- Bursting the Oil Bubble: Sell Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Lower Prices by Joseph Romm and Daniel J. Weiss
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or email@example.com
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.482.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org