Here we go again: Democrats want to tap strategic oil reserves to combat high gas prices

posted at 7:45 pm on February 27, 2012 by Tina Korbe

In the energy realm, as in every other, Democrats are all about instant gratification. They’ll disparage the idea of opening federal lands to domestic drilling because “it would take years for the new oil to come online” (never mind that if we’d opened them years ago, the oil would already be available!), but they’ll champion the depletion of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve because tapping it might drive gas prices down quickly enough to ensure reelection.

Three House Democrats, Reps. Ed Markey, Peter Welch and Rosa DeLauro, sent a letter to the president recently calling for an “aggressive strategy” for releasing oil from the reserve and pointing to past actions that helped drive down prices.

“As we approach the summer driving season, we must carefully consider all immediate options in order to prevent a runaway increase in prices,” they wrote. …

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the country’s supply of excess oil and was created to deal with spikes in the cost of oil because of natural disasters, war or terrorist attacks.

Obama tapped the SPR, as it’s known, last June, releasing 30 million barrels of oil to compensate for supply disruptions in Libya. Democrats applauded the move but Republicans viewed it as a political stunt. …

Top Republicans had argued that the threshold for using the reserve should be an emergency, not for gas price reductions.

Remarkably, though, House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer is actually speaking some sense on this subject:

The number two House Democrat broke Monday with some of his fellow Democratic colleagues, and said he does not believe releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is appropriate now and it wouldn’t help lower gas prices. …

But House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said he believes the SPR should be used in “emergency times when supply is being disrupted,” and added, “there are no lines at the gas tanks anywhere in the country as far as I know.”

Hoyer maintained there are other reasons for higher gas prices. “My own view that speculation and fear of what might happen is more a cause than the supply issue.”

Still, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the president decides to again tap the SPR. He did it once. What would stop him from doing it again? High gas prices are the wages of the president’s energy policies up to this point and he’ll do anything to avoid the electoral consequences of his policies. While his press secretary chatters about increased domestic energy production and eventual energy independence, the president has to know it’s too late; he can do very little to drive gas prices down now. Whatever he can do, he will, no matter how stupid it is for the long-range energy outlook of the country.

If the president wanted to avoid high gas prices down the home stretch to his reelection, then he should have thought about that before now. Championing sound energy policy requires a long-range perspective. It requires an integrity that refuses to engage in crony capitalism and a common sense approach that reduces the regulatory burden on all companies to unleash American energy. It might require offending an environmentalist or two. Incidentally, it also requires an appreciation for an industrialized society and an acceptance of fossil fuels as what currently drive industrialized society. The president has none of that. He has an energy ideology that seeks to impose itself on a nation that’s not ready to quit fossil fuels cold turkey. He also has a driving desire for reelection. In other words, he wants instant gratification.

But as anyone who’s familiar with the Stanford marshmallow experiment knows, instant gratification folks are rarely as successful as those who’ve “learn[ed] to labor and to wait.”


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Sure, why not? Getting Jimmy and Jane to acting class for two weeks is pretty damn important.

Limerick on February 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

The only thing that matters to these people is getting Baroque re-elected. Everything including National Security, can take a back seat to that.

CorporatePiggy on February 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

The libs will keep tappin’ till it works…

Wade on February 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Nuclear. Power.

Modern reactors could take us completely off the ME’s chain.

mythicknight on February 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Funny how the Feeble SPR can affect gas prices but more more drilling won’t do jack…

HopeHeFails on February 27, 2012 at 7:49 PM

How ’bout a reeeaaalllly crazy idea like tapping into the “reserves” we have across this land. You know, the ones that Dems don’t want us to touch? Gulf, Anwar, Oil Shale, etc. And then there’s that whole Keystone thing.

predator on February 27, 2012 at 7:50 PM

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the country’s supply of excess oil and was created to deal with spikes in the cost of oil because of natural disasters, war or terrorist attacks.

And which of these have we suffered to warrant tapping the SOR? and how does chicken noodle news report this background on the SOR and then proceed to ignore it?

Lost in Jersey on February 27, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Sure, why not? Getting Jimmy and Jane to acting class for two weeks is pretty damn important.

Limerick on February 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

C’mon now Limerick, the capacity of the reserve is about 715 million barrels. Current US oil consumption is about 19 million barrels per day. Anyone can plainly see that if the reserve is full and if we use it all they could make it to class for at least a month. I was being sarcastic of course and your point is well taken. Do people really think that the SOR is some magic fountain with a vast unlimited puddle of oil just waiting to be tapped?

Oldnuke on February 27, 2012 at 7:52 PM

So when the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan air group needs AVgas can can’t get it we can rest on the fact that corn got to market five cents cheaper….for two days.

Limerick on February 27, 2012 at 7:52 PM

This is as if when the White Star lines had cash flow problems after the sinking of the Titanic, they “solved” the cash flow issues by selling off the life vests and life boats on Titanic’s sister ship (Majestic?)

jhnone on February 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Of course he will, because it weakens America, which he wants to destroy. Moreover, it will help offset the supply reductions that he likely will induce by the upcoming hostilities with Iran.

GaltBlvnAtty on February 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Nuclear. Power.

Modern reactors could take us completely off the ME’s chain.

mythicknight on February 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

How would nuclear do that?

Oldnuke on February 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Would like to see old Jed or Jethro Clampett strap on a pair of Granny’s high heels and dance atop the heads of some congress critters to see what kind of black gold would spew forth. Probably wouldn’t be worth the Mississipi mudpie left in the toilet this morn’.

FBO/ABO

ahlaphus on February 27, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I was thinking about this the other day and wondering if BHO would dare to do it again.

Are there any parameters at all to when the SOR can be tapped so BHO can’t play politics? I know BHO likes to rule, but considering the constant chaos in the ME, this is reckless and foolish (I know that doesn’t stop him either).

I’m glad Hoyer is saying something–or is it merely kabuki?

INC on February 27, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Why do we have to do that when we can properly inflate our tires to fix this? What about green energy like wind, solar, and algae?

newportmike on February 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

An easy solution to our energy problem is to just ask the gas station attendant where the Obama Algae is and fill ‘er up with algae!

It’s stupid to drill for oil. Wasting 350 gallons of water to make one gallon of Obama algae makes much more sense and is better for the environment!

OxyCon on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

“Getting elected. Isn’t that what they mean by ‘strategic’?”

Tzetzes on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Nuclear. Power.

Modern reactors could take us completely off the ME’s chain.

mythicknight on February 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Maybe if our cars were predominantly electric.

They’re not, however.

MadisonConservative on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

newportmike on February 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

The Navy has tried and failed to coax algae into pushing E 38 knots.

Limerick on February 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM

OxyCon on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Don’t forget that horrid, horrid CO2 released in the process.

Lost in Jersey on February 27, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Michelle heard about the SPR.

She wants her piece of the pie.

Roy Rogers on February 27, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Tap baby, Tap!

Electrongod on February 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM

don’t forget the predictable windfall profits tax proposal and accusations of price gouging

commodore on February 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Did you see this, we are giving away lands to the Russians, not even Selling it, it would seem,

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/obamas-giveaway-oil-rich-islands-to-russia/

I heard Hannity mention it on the radio, and here it is. Why hasn’t Sarah Palin said anything?

Fleuries on February 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

How can this even be legal? It’s called the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve” not the “Political Petroleum Reserve.”

Grossly irresponsible to use it for anything other than its intended purpose – which ain’t political.

Then again – this is the Dims we’re talking about, so responsibility is out the window, I suppose.

Bastages.

RedNewEnglander on February 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

So when the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan air group needs AVgas can can’t get it we can rest on the fact that corn got to market five cents cheaper….for two days.

Limerick on February 27, 2012 at 7:52 PM

You didn’t hear? They installed wind turbines on the flight deck and replaced the nuclear reactor with a unicorn farm, complete with a unicorn flattus extractor – all very high tech, you know.

turfmann on February 27, 2012 at 8:06 PM

but he won’t let us tap the “non-strategic” oil reserves?

29Victor on February 27, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Did you see this, we are giving away lands to the Russians, not even Selling it, it would seem,

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/obamas-giveaway-oil-rich-islands-to-russia/

I heard Hannity mention it on the radio, and here it is. Why hasn’t Sarah Palin said anything?

Fleuries on February 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Your link doesn’t work but I read that last week and it’s hogwash. If it were true, don’t you think Ed, Tina or AP would have been on it like stink on a monkey?

JPeterman on February 27, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Algae! That’s the ticket.

Charlemagne on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Every damn election like clockwork. The worst part of this is that when people want to drill for oil they’re bad but when some Democrat president wants to tap the strategic reserve to get re-elected it’s because he’s the only politician that cares about the “little people”. People are so blind.

Browncoatone on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Another way to weaken our defense!
BTW, this is being reported on theblaze.com

The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

Funny how the unions aren’t touched!

Bambi on February 27, 2012 at 8:14 PM

You didn’t hear? They installed wind turbines on the flight deck and replaced the nuclear reactor with a unicorn farm, complete with a unicorn flattus extractor – all very high tech, you know.

turfmann on February 27, 2012 at 8:06 PM

:-) Ok, back in the day we had a saying. If you took a nuke and put him in featureless padded room with a hammer and a steel ball within a half hour you’d go back and find that he had disassembled the steel ball and lost the hammer. There’d be a lot of PO’d nukes on that bird farm with a lot of time on their hands. My prediction is that it would be discovered that windmills don’t float very well and all the unicorns would disappear overnight. The ship’s company would be invited to a BBQ on the flight deck next day.

Oldnuke on February 27, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I’ve been hearing that the devalued dollar was thought to be the cause of higher gas prices. It takes more of them to but a barrel of oil. My brother brought this up to me last week and I saw something in Forbes recently.

multiuseless on February 27, 2012 at 8:17 PM

To be fair, tapping the strategic oil reserves isn’t their only plan:
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged Saudi Arabia to pump more oil yesterday.

mrt721 on February 27, 2012 at 8:17 PM

He’ll do it. Let’s call it SVE though.

Strategic Vulnerability Exposure.

Who needs enemies when we have Obama?

fogw on February 27, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Real reason: High gasoline prices reduced the chance of Obama re-election.

Mr. Joe on February 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

What’s it all about, Algae?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Algae?
Are we meant to take more than we give

faraway on February 27, 2012 at 8:23 PM

For anyone attempting to even think that this if in lieu of Canadian Syncrude via the Keystone XL, it’s not.

SPR crude is 40 API sweet crude consistent with that produced in teh Gulf of Mexico. Bakken is about the same.

Now if there is any idea of Buffett making money it is not Canadian Syncrude but Bakken where rail terminals are almost completed as well as receiving rail terminals down here on the Gulf Coast at enlarged pipeline/marine terminals.

Kermit on February 27, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Algae! That’s the ticket.

Charlemagne on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Strategic algae!

29Victor on February 27, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Browncoatone on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Its not the people, its the jouwhornolists that can not bend over far enough to accommodate all of The Messiah. Behold the mind numbing power of pigment!

dmann on February 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Strategic algae!

29Victor on February 27, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Well there’s a lot of pond scum in D.C. So I suppose that could be our strategic algae reserve.

Oldnuke on February 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

What could be more strategic than getting President Four Putt re-elected???

I’m surprised he hasn’t come up with an executive order stating that all proceeds from any sales will go to ‘alternative energy’ programs that my administration has personally selected.

BigWyo on February 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

The libs will keep tappin’ till it works…

Wade on February 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

…and they’re tappin’ everything!… I can hardly sit down anymore!

KOOLAID2 on February 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Algae! That’s the ticket.

Charlemagne on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Strategic algae!

29Victor on February 27, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Get back to me when a gallon of algae will upon combustion do the equivalent of throwing a Suburban approximately 14 miles at highway speed. Cheapest most effective fuel by volume, and the environuts want to jack up the price. Anti-science and anti-economics, pure and simple.

txmomof6 on February 27, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Somebody ought to clue in our betters that withdrawing product from the SPR isn’t production.

ghostwriter on February 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

ghostwriter on February 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Please, you give them far more credit than they ever, ever will earn……..remember Obama will put gas in their tank!

dmann on February 27, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Did you see this, we are giving away lands to the Russians, not even Selling it, it would seem,

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/obamas-giveaway-oil-rich-islands-to-russia/

I heard Hannity mention it on the radio, and here it is. Why hasn’t Sarah Palin said anything?

Fleuries on February 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

..maybe that’s the part of Russia she can’t see from her front porch.

The War Planner on February 27, 2012 at 8:52 PM

..also — and I hate to be cynical — but this is old news and was dissected a couple of days ago. Well, yesterday at least. This will maybe — MAYBE — reduce the oil prices for about 36 hours. Then we’ll have to replace the oil at higher prices.

Let buttboy’s buttboys try this; a sure sign of desperation. Gas at $5.00 out here in SoCal will sure play well with all the Hollywood types. (Well, the starving lib actors, anyway.)

The War Planner on February 27, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Last year when they released oil reserves the price of gas had already plunged $0.50 from its peak and was obviously trending downward.

Wigglesworth on February 27, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Makes sense. To a Democrat, the only “strategic” concern is staying in power.

So, obviously, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve exists mainly to help them achieve that goal.

malclave on February 27, 2012 at 8:58 PM

OBAMA 2012: A Volt in every driveway and Pond Scum in every pot.

(Don’t stop me now, the Johnny Walker’s just beginning to kick in.)

The War Planner on February 27, 2012 at 8:59 PM

While his press secretary chatters about increased domestic energy production and eventual energy independence, the president has to know it’s too late; he can do very little to drive gas prices down now. Whatever he can do, he will, no matter how stupid it is for the long-range energy outlook of the country.

True. Right now Obama is trying to get ahead in the blame game. The best time to release reserves is when the price has already peaked. He was a little late in doing it last year. Late May or early June would have been ideal. That way as prices decline over the summer he can claim that he was the one who lowered gas prices.

Wigglesworth on February 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM

To a Democrat, the strategic oil reserve is the exact same thing as a pile of cash, it must be spent. It’s what they do.

Tim Zank on February 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

But he won’t let us tap the “non-strategic” oil reserves?

29Victor on February 27, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Well put.

slickwillie2001 on February 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Obama ran on a platform calling for higher energy costs in every sector, and that’s what we have despite measurably lower demand. It is a crisis of supply brought about by the Imbecile King.

And you liberal nitwits voted for it … so own it, love it, brag about it. “We brought the nation a new energy price paradigm! Re-elect us!”

Go for it.

Jaibones on February 27, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Number one don’t buy into the liberal line that it takes years to drill and extract oil. Remember the incident in the gulf , they moved the equipment to the site ….drilled what was it 8,000 – 10,000 feet and they did it in less than 3 months from the day the well blew out to the day the well was capped and that was including the time they tried other options ….it takes years to jump through the hoops the EPA and enviro whack jobs impose on the oil industry

Aggie95 on February 27, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Number one don’t buy into the liberal line that it takes years to drill and extract oil.

Aggie95 on February 27, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I don’t even go that far when I discuss this with people opposed to drilling.

1. Oil prices are often blamed on speculators.
2. Speculators are looking at the future, not current, oil supplies.
3. Opening more areas to drilling would lead to more oil supply in the future.
4. Speculators would see this and oil prices would be impacted sooner rather than later.

That’s usually when they shift from “drilling in the future won’t affect prices now” to their environmentalist standby arguments.

malclave on February 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Dont forget that we dont put crude oil in our gas tanks… all that oil needs to head to a refinery first.
You know, those facilities that are closing down rather than update to the ever stricter EPA regulations being imposed.

Koa on February 27, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Not understanding Markey and DeLauro except to give Obama cover from the ecomaniacs. With Hoyer saying ‘naw, not really gonna help’, there’s now not full pressure to do it…they are triangulating for him.

Democrats had 4 years to INVESTIGATE and do more threats like in 06-08 but then things went back down like a the edge of a cliff. I’m suprised they didn’t look into that; I would support that, as a better understanding of what goes on, since I’m a pessimist, skeptic, and devout in cynicism of most things. Yes ALL THREE OF THEM.

John Kettlewell on February 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Whatever he can do, he will, no matter how stupid it is for the long-range energy outlook of the country.

Just as long as he get’s re-elected.

GarandFan on February 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Great interactive site shows that we are “Running on Empty” and why:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/02/running-on-empty.php

onlineanalyst on February 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM

Let now see how the “Strategic Political Reserve” can be directed to the important “leaning” Democrat states.

trl on February 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM

The Democrats are certainly the party of smoke and mirrors. They want to release oil, from the Strategic Oil Reserve, to temporarily lower the price of gasoline to help their re-election plans, yet they don’t want to vote on anything that would provide stability in the price of oil, by allowing more drilling in our country. The beauty of this is there isn’t enough oil in the reserve to sustain this for any length of time so, if they release it now, the price will go up again, only more rapidly than before, when the releases stop. If you could release, until you stabilized the supply, that would be one thing, but, with Iran acting the way they are, we just might need it and, if they use it now, it won’t be available. They’re sort of between Barack and a hard place, so to speak.

America needs a sound energy policy, instead they have political Democrats throwing money down the green agenda hole and refusing to take the necessary steps to increase our domestic supply of oil. The pity is, we don’t have a free press in this country because, if we did, they would certainly be asking the President and Democratic Party leaders why they’re fighting Republican attempts to increase domestic supply, build a pipeline, and drill in ANWR.

bflat879 on February 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Obama completely shut the Gulf Of Mexico down to drilling even though it was clear that BP was clearly not following standard industry procedures. One airplane crashes, down the whole fleet.

Ten’s of thousands of jobs were lost and the effect rippled through the economy

2 month permits take 16 months with 5 times the paperwork
Rig procedures have become massive overkill
And insurance bonds keep all but the major oil companies from operating

It took Obama 17 days to respond to the spill, then it was used as a political tool.
Never let a crisis go to waste
An environmental angle
The feds didn’t alllow fly overs to assess the damage
Then you have bambi show up on the beaches in stark white shirts

Obama doesn’t care about Americans
He sees those with him and those he opposes
Who cares what happens in red states

Just ask Tennessse after their major flooding

The Gulf was shut down for over a year. Production down significantly.
companies going under or moving elsewhere
We are really hurting down here

All for the agenda of one hell bent tyrannical depot

audiotom on February 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Some day I hope we have a president that doesn’t put his country in danger on purpose by cancelling domestic drilling leases, and then tapping emergency reserves when the inevitable price hike occurs.

Not to mention stating that he wants energy prices to skyrocket, and is doing it on purpose.

scotash on February 28, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Too bad there isn’t a strategic brain reserve for them to tap.

Smedley on February 28, 2012 at 1:42 AM

Using the reserves won’t do anything to help of course. How about cutting or eliminating the federal taxes on gas for a long while? The government makes more money off the sale of gasoline than the oil companies do! Me thinks Obozo actually wants to see gas prices even higher.

GFW on February 28, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Nuclear. Power.

Modern reactors could take us completely off the ME’s chain.

mythicknight on February 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Not quite. Best proposal I’ve ever read about was a hybrid of a thorium reactor coupled with a coal to oil generating plant. Thorium is found in coal ash.

What you do is burn the coal (and generate electricity), extract the thorium from the coal ash and use it to run a thorium reactor (generate more electricity), use the waste heat from the two electric plants to run a conversion plant that convert coal into oil.

We had thorium reactors running in universities in the 60′s. VERY safe since they don’t use pressurized water for cooling. They use a liquid salt bath. Thorium is much more stable than uranium. The plant design I read about used a 2-chambered approach with the reactor on top and a cooling chamber below. Separating them was a plug. If the reaction started to get out of control, the liquid thorium mixture would melt the plug, drain into the 2nd chamber and cool. Unlike uranium, thorium requires the fuel rods to continue the reaction.

Also, coal actually converts quite nicely to oil because its already energy dense. Scientists have already proven the process to work. I read an article on it about a year ago. Scale it up. The hybrid plant would take one input (coal) and produce both oil and electricity off it. And you know how much coal we have here in the U.S…

Oh, and the reason we don’t use thorium reactors is that they don’t produce materials for building nuclear bombs.

dominigan on February 28, 2012 at 8:29 AM

What goes out of the spr has to be replaced at some point. What is zero going to do when he uses all the oil in the spr and gas prices don’t come down? hmmmmmm.

Kissmygrits on February 28, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Can’t we burn Volts instead of coal in some selected power plants? Wouldn’t that help?

sdbatboy on February 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM