Washington, DC – Today, at the urging of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her colleagues, President Obama decided to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). In a letter earlier this year to the President, Senator Gillibrand delineated the urgency of an SPR drawdown. Gas Prices across New York are 36 percent higher than this time last year. The drawdown of 30 million barrels will help to stabilize gasoline prices.
“I applaud President Obama’s decision to release oil from the SPR,” Senator Gillibrand said. “With our families already struggling in this difficult economy, the last thing we need is for gasoline prices to continue to skyrocket. This release will stabilize gas prices and provide crucial relief to families here in New York and across the country.”
This release of 30 million barrels could not have come at a better time. The last 12 months have seen gas prices climb more than a dollar a gallon, and are now just below the $4 dollar mark across New York State. In February alone, as a result of unrest in the Middle East, the price of oil rose over $10 per barrel. This increase would cost Americans an additional $40 billion annually, according to the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. These prices are putting a significant dent in the budgets of middle class families across the country, and cannot be sustained.
The SPR is currently at a historically high level with 727 million barrels. The last release from the SPR, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, caused gasoline prices to drop by 9 percent.