U.S. could tap nation's oil reserves

Published online: Mar 08, 2011 News Trade Only Today
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With oil prices on the rise, the Obama administration is considering whether to tap the nation's oil reserves.

"The issue of the reserves is one we're considering," White House chief of staff William Daley said Sunday on "Meet the Press." "I think there is no one who doubts that the uncertainty in the Middle East right now has caused this tremendous increase [in gas prices] in the last number of weeks."

The U.S.-held emergency oil supply, called the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, contains 727 million barrels of oil - enough to supply the nation for several months.

Proponents say that releasing oil from the reserves would calm spiking gas prices and limit the threat to the U.S. economic recovery. Critics say the oil reserves should be saved for a true emergency.

Economist and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich said this morning on CBS's "The Early Show" that it might make sense to at least suggest tapping into the reserve because of the rise in oil futures.

"Americans are still trying to get out of the gravitational pull of the Great Recession, and so the higher gas prices at the pump are undoubtedly going to be a blow. It's not going to dramatically slow down the recovery," he said. "But it could definitely slow it down."

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