Amid growing concerns that rising gas prices would stifle continued economic development and job creation in Upstate New York, Congressman Bill Owens yesterday became an original cosponsor of a bill that would push gas prices down in the short-term by releasing a small amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
"The rising cost of gas is a growing concern for my constituents. I support a responsible plan to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way to increase supply and reduce the price at the pump," said Owens. "My district covers nearly 14,000 square miles, and for rural residents who commute long distances every day, higher gas prices are completely unaffordable. We need to consider all reasonable measures to control this recent spike and prevent any erosion to America's economic recovery."
Owens delivered additional comments at a Thursday press conference in Washington, D.C. Watch the video here.
The Enhanced SPR Act (H.R. 1017) would require at least 30 million barrels of oil are released from the SPR and sold within six months, and would ensure that no more than ten percent of the SPR's volume is deployed into the market in order to maintain the nation's energy security. The SPR is currently filled to capacity and holds 727 million barrels of oil.
The legislation would use the proceeds from the sale to purchase refined product and allow the Department of Energy to either acquire new storage facilities or make upgrades to existing facilities, ensuring no additional cost to taxpayers.
Releasing oil from the SPR has proved to drive down prices in the past:
When President George H. W. Bush deployed oil from the SPR in 1991, oil prices immediately dropped by more than 33 percent.
When President Clinton conducted a timed exchange of oil from the SPR in 2000, it again drove prices down by nearly 19 percent.
When President Bush released oil from the reserve in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, oil prices fell by more than 9 percent.