Entries in Oil Prices (3)


US 'Teed Up' To Tap Into Petroleum Reserve; But Not Yet, Obama Says

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Friday said he would be willing to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to help ease pain domestically at the gas pump, but said at this time he is "confident" about the ability to fill gaps in supply without having to do so.

"Should the situation demand it, we are prepared to tap the significant stockpile of oil that we have in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve," Obama said from the South Court Auditorium. "If we see significant disruptions or, you know, shifts in the market that are so disconcerting to people that we think a strategic petroleum reserve release might be appropriate, then we'll take that step."

With the national average price of a gallon of gas at $3.54 per gallon, Mr. Obama said the administration will continue to monitor the situation closely -- keeping "all options on the table" when it comes to supply disruptions. The president indicated that should the reserve need to be tapped, that wheels are already in motion so it would only take several days.

"We have it teed up, so this isn't a situation where it would take a big bureaucracy and several weeks for us to implement. This is something that would take several days."

The president said though that the nation is not at the point -- yet -- where tapping the SPR needs to happen, and refused when asked, to name a price of gas that would trigger the release.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Dismisses Republican Criticism in Wake of High Oil Prices

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Friday defended his record on energy policy and strategy amid rising oil prices and Republican criticism that the president has done little to encourage domestic production and energy independence.

"The bottom line is this: We've been having this conversation for nearly four decades now," the president said in his news conference. "Every few years, oil prices go up, politicians pull out the same old playbook and then nothing changes....We slip back into a trance. I think the American people are tired of that. I think they're tired of talk. We got to work finally secure America's energy future. I don't want to leave this for the next president."

Oil prices have surged in recent wakes because of the uncertainty turmoil in the Middle East. The price hikes come ahead of the peak summer driving season and has created much friction between Democrats and Republicans.

Obama said he is prepared to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "should the situation demand." He said his administration is also looking into the possible manipulation of markets by oil traders.

He urged Republicans and Democrats to come together on a comprehensive energy plan "that will focus on production and conservation."

"We have got to make our economy more efficient and energy independent in the long term," he said.

House Republicans, deriding what they say is the president's lack of leadership on this front, Thursday unveiled a plan to expand U.S. energy production and end Obama administration policies that, they contend, are harmful to prices and job growth.

Obama today dismissed the rhetoric from Republicans as political maneuvering, saying that while it makes for a good sound bite, it doesn't reflect reality.

Some Democrats want Obama to release oil from the reserve to alleviate the pressure on oil prices, which have soared because of the turmoil in the Middle East and uncertainty in the economic markets. Critics argue that such a move should only be a last resort.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Politics of Oil: Will High Prices Spur Lawmakers to Act?

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumers are starting to feel the pressure at the pump as the crisis in Libya rages on, but in Washington, there's little momentum and political will to engage in the deeply polarized energy debate -- and the script is unlikely to change.

The national average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline spiked to $3.52 on Monday, the highest price ever during the month of March, and ahead of the peak summer driving season.

But it has yet to translate into action on Capitol Hill.  The White House has discussed the option of tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and has said it is looking into various options should a large scale supply disruption occur, but the action so far has been limited to rhetoric.

It's still too early to gauge the political impact, experts say, but both Republicans and Democrats need to take cautious steps in tackling this issue that is deeply divided along ideological lines.

According to one school of thought, the Libya crisis shows that the United States needs to boost its own offshore production for energy security; according to the other, the answer is to develop clean energy technology because of worries about the environmental costs of fossil fuel production and consumption.

There is little consensus on how to tackle the issue of energy security. From President Reagan to President Obama, most U.S. presidents have stated they want to see a more independent future for the United States when it comes to oil, but imports from foreign countries have only grown in recent decades.

Multiple efforts to enact comprehensive energy legislation that would boost clean energy and technological investment have collapsed, most recently last year when senators failed to find common ground.

Proponents of energy independence are hopeful that lawmakers will slip in some incentives, such as tax credits for hybrid cars, into bigger legislation, like they did in 2008, the last time oil prices had a sudden spike.

But with talk of economy and budget -- specifically cost-cutting measures -- dominating Capitol Hill, there's little impetus to revisit that subject, unless the pain is sustained.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio