Top Dem: Tap oil reserves?
May 1st, 2011
10:12 AM ET
4 years ago

Top Dem: Tap oil reserves?

Washington (CNN) – Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen proposed the United States tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help curb escalating gas prices.

“I would say with respect to price, we’ve seen a supply disruption as a result of Libya, which has helped feed a speculative bubble and the only way to address that in the very short-term is to consider releasing some of the oil from the strategic petroleum reserve,” Van Hollen said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”


The Maryland representative and ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee said releasing some of the reserve’s oil, an emergency fuel source maintained by the United States Department of Energy, would “pop that bubble” and “get a good price for the American tax payer too.”

The reserve houses 726.6 million barrels, enough oil to subsidize the Untied States for 75 days at current levels, according to the most recent numbers from the Department of Energy.

In March, President Obama said he was prepared to tap the reserve, but has yet to pursue the option. According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for regular gas is $3.943 a gallon, compared with $3.619 a month ago and $2.885 last year.

But instead of using the reserve, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said the United States should “be exploring for energy offshore, on federal land and in Alaska.”

The reserve is “there for specific emergencies and this isn’t it,” Barrasso said Sunday on “State of the Union.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Mark from Louisiana

    I guess obama figures if he let's oil prices go higher, someone, somewhere will buy a chevy volt, less than 1,000 sold in three months. Boy that's a good return on the $750 MIILION dollars of taxpayer money spent to develop it.

    May 1, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Republican Robber Baron

    Yes America needs to stop being held hostage by OPEC and Big Oil. Due to having the most corrupt Administration in recent American History...the Big Oil Robber Barons literally had their own people calling the shots: Bush personally owned an oil company in TX, Rice was on the Board of Directors for Chevron / had a supertanker named after her, Cheney was the CEO of Haliburton for almost 10 years.

    It makes America seem like a 3rd World Banana Republic with such blatant conflicts of interest – especially with Dick Cheney having secret closed-door meetings with Big Oil executives on numerous occasions and he still is refusing to disclose whom he met with – despite the Freedom of Information Act.

    If Brazil can be 100% self-sufficient...it is about time America learns how to do so as well.

    May 1, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. more wanna bees

    put the same sign of misery around all the demoncrates necks and let them feel the same pain that they have put on the American people.

    May 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Bill from GA

    Considering that there is no shortage of oil in this country, Van Hollen's idiotic plan makes no sense. Just a stupid, knee-jerk reaction, typical of our Congress.

    May 1, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. the real ib

    @GI Joe; Never said anything about him being a dictator but he could work to pass these laws just lie Bush should have done. I don't like either of them and if you would stop and be realistic instead of downing everyone that says anything against Obama you would realize that. GOT IT????

    May 1, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Kenny K

    I thought Americans believe in pure capitalism and free market? In free market, companies should be able to sell their goods at any price they choose? Therefore, there should be no crime in charging high price for gas.

    May 1, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Liberal Elite = anyone with an education

    Hmmm, "America" needs to drill more oil. Really? And who are we going to get to drill it? BRITISH Petroleum? DUTCH Royal Shell?
    C'mon man, don't lie to us – even the Saudi Oil minister said that the fiasco in Libya wasn't the cause of rising oil prices. This isn't simple supply and demand. This is speculators driving up the prices and oil companies turning in consistent RECORD PROFITS. Tapping the oil reserves will accomplish nothing but putting us in a position of greater dependence on the oil companies. This isn't about foreign oil supply vs. domestic oil supply. This is about the oil robber barons manipulating our government for their own profit.
    And a big second to the poster who said that this isn't an emergency until you see the gas guzzlers sitting unused in driveways. Here in Alaska, every other vehicle it seems is a full size, lifted pickup with big tires and no muffler. Tell me again why we are running short on oil supply? Could it be MAYBE we are using too much? Hmmmm?

    May 1, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. NYC REPUB

    Even if we drill, baby drill starting now, it takes 10 – 12 years to produce oil out of a new drill site. So whether we drill in the ANWAR in Alaska (which I'm totally against) or offshore, it won't bring down prices now. What really needs to happen is a concentration on green cars that use less oil. Along with a green revolution. It's the logical way to go.

    May 1, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. the real ib

    @GI Joe; one more thing since you are so concerned about where I'm from I've thinking about where you are from; got it figured out you live in the city of jerks don't you?

    May 1, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. The Greedy Oil Pigs care nothing about average Americans!

    Ditch the oil subsidies and subsidize green energy instead. It's pretty obvious what needs to be done, yet too many politicians, and especially the GOBPbaggers, are wholly owned prostitutes for Big Oil.

    May 1, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Albo58

    I love it when the lib moonbats state we have "to break from our oil addiction" as if there's a feasible and sensible alternative right now! As for glutting the market with some our oil reserves, this WILL drive down the price of oil in the short term. One thing is certain, doing what the President and his slobbering drones are or are not doing now AIN'T working!

    May 1, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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