Oil reserves tapped, promise kept
By Robert Farley
Published on Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
In the summer of 2008, when gas prices shot up to about $4 a gallon and Washington was abuzz with proposals to make it cheaper, Barack Obama made a campaign pledge to release a limited amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
But by the time Obama took office in January 2009, gas prices had fallen to an average of $1.84 a gallon and there was no need to take the emergency step promised in the campaign.
Well, prices are back up, and with a disruption in global oil production due to unrest in Libya, there was again pressure to dip into the country's oil reserves.
On June 23, 2011, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the U.S. would lead an international effort to tap petroleum reserves. In all, the 28 countries that make up the International Energy Agency -- an agency formed to respond to major disruptions in oil supply -- will release a total of 60 million barrels of oil onto world markets over the next 30 days. Half of that, 30 million barrels of oil, will come from the United States' Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
While many questioned the timing of Obama's decision, it did belatedly fulfill his campaign promise. We have updated this one to Promise Kept.
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