Assemblymember Kevin Cahill Calls on President to Release Oil from Reserve

Release would help bring down gasoline prices
June 28, 2004

With gasoline prices at or near record highs, the Assembly passed a resolution urging President Bush to release oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help bring gasoline prices under control and return lost purchasing power to families and businesses across New York (K.2597).

"Gasoline is a major part of the average family’s budget. As oil and gas prices go up, a family’s ability to afford other necessities goes down," Assemblymember Cahill said. "Even worse, since businesses also have to deal with higher energy prices, consumers get socked again when prices for goods and services go up."

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in 1973 to control price shocks brought about by the Arab oil embargo. Today, with demand for oil rising here and abroad, consumers are contending with tight supplies that have driven the average cost of a gallon of gasoline above $2. The reserve currently holds 563 million barrels of crude oil in storage tanks around the Gulf coast. Estimates show that it could safely release as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day.

"Oil doesn’t just power our cars, it powers our economy, too. High petroleum prices not only result in high gasoline prices but raise the cost of practically everything, feeding inflation and putting severe burdens on working families," Mr. Cahill said. "Before these high prices cause lasting damage, we need to get things under control. The President has the ability to bring some measure of relief, and I urge him to do so today," he concluded.