Jul 13, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Report: Trump weighs tapping into emergency oil reserve

Cows groupedwhile black pump jack works beside them on gas-oil well. Photo Susan Vineyard/Getty Images

The Trump administration is weighing whether to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to moderate gasoline prices ahead of the midterm elections, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Why it matters: The move would represent a remarkable use of the stockpile for political purposes, given that there's currently no crude oil supply shortage or emergency. And gasoline prices, while higher than in recent years, remain well below levels routinely seen in periods between 2010 and 2014, when they were frequently far in excess of $3 per gallon and at times neared $4.

By the numbers: The nationwide average gasoline price is currently $2.89 per gallon, compared to $2.26 at this time a year ago, according to AAA.

  • Per Bloomberg, no decisions have been made, but options under review envision a release of up to 30 million barrels, or even more if coordinated with other nations. The reserve currently holds around 660 million barrels of oil.

Quick history: "The oil stockpile, which was created in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo sent prices skyrocketing and forced Americans to ration gasoline, is mainly meant to be used in emergencies. But it has been tapped in the past to bring down domestic gasoline prices, such as by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, as well as to fund unrelated domestic legislation," Bloomberg reports.

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