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.”
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