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Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel
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Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel

Trump Eyes US Oil Reserve to Lower Prices at the Pump

Critics say using the oil reserve for anything other than an oil supply disruption is unwise.

The Trump administration may tap into the nation's emergency oil supply to stop the rise of gasoline prices and potential pain at the pump from increasing ahead of congressional midterms.

The 660-million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve is being eyed for tapping, but no decision has been made yet. Trump is considering a range of options, from releasing five-million barrels for a test sale to a much larger 30-million-barrel release, said sources that requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations. They added that a larger release may be possible if coordinated with other nations.

The average retail price of regular gasoline rose one cent from the previous week to $2.86 per gallon on July 9, which is a 56-cent increase from last July, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The average price for diesel fuel increased less than a cent, landing at $3.24 per gallon on July 9, which is a 76-cent jump from a year ago.

The hope would to use the oil stockpile to increase the supply of oil in the market, and create a price cushion. The price of oil is the most influential factor in determining the marginal price of gasoline and diesel.

Critics say using the oil reserve for anything other than an oil supply disruption is unwise, because it could lead to unintended consequences if imports from other countries are cut.

Congress in recent years has passed bills establishing new programs funded by selling out of the reserve. Lawmakers supportive of the measure say increased shale oil and natural gas development has made the reserve less relevant, compared to when it was created 40 years ago.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has in the past opposed using the oil reserve for anything other than coping with supply disruptions.

 

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