Today, as American families and businesses continue to struggle with sky-high prices at the gas pump, the cost of crude oil surged to nearly $147 a barrel - a new record. President Bush said one reason consumers are feeling pinched and crude oil prices are so high is because “demand is outstripping supply.”
Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have called on the President to draw down a small portion of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to immediately expand available supplies, send a strong message to oil speculators, and help reduce the record prices that are helping push the economy toward recession.
Rather than embracing the proposal, the White House has slammed it as “harmful” and “ineffective.”
White House Spokesperson Scott Stanzel:
“It has been ineffective when it has been used for price manipulation in the past…” [7/9/08]
White House Spokesperson Tony Fratto:
“Look, I think it's good that there are members who are interested in increasing supply of oil here. I think what's disappointing is that the only place they can seem to want to access that supply is in this storage of oil that we set aside for dealing with national emergencies... It is not there to try to market-time and to try to manipulate prices in the market...” [7/10/08]
In fact, the SPR has been tapped before by President Bush, President Clinton and President George H.W. Bush. In 2000, after releasing oil from the SPR the price of oil came down by nearly 20 percent in just one week. American consumers need similar relief now.