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US Unlikely to Tap into Strategic Oil Reserves, Experts Say

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With gasoline prices soaring fast, there has been some talk by the Obama administration to tap into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ease some of the pain at the pump.

But most fuel analysts say it's not worth the effort, even as prices have zoomed up 40 cents a gallon in the past month because of unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa.

White House chief of staff Bill Daley has talked about releasing just over four million barrels from the reserve, which is currently at its capacity of 727 million barrels.

While four million sounds impressive, it's not.  That's the equivalent of what U.S. motorists use in just a half a day of driving.

There are reasons to leave the Strategic Petroleum Reserve alone.  Analysts explain that crude stockpiles are now above their four-year average and there's not been steep decline in oil imports, despite all the problems in Libya and elsewhere.

Still, futures traders are exploiting the crisis anyway, sending the price of crude well past $100 per barrel, which ultimately affects what we all pay at the pump.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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