The Strategic Oil Reserve was established in response to the 1973 oil crisis. The purpose was to provide an emergency stock of crude oil in cases of national supply interruptions. It has been tapped only twice since. The first was in 1991 in preparation for the Gulf War. The second in 2005, when back-to-back hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, home to most of the country’s gasoline refineries.
It was not intended to be used to pump up low presidential approval numbers.
A few days after a Gallup poll showed only 3 in 10 voters plan to vote for Obama in 2012, the Obama administration announced plans to release 30 millions barrels of crude oil from the reserve, “due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery.”
Releasing oil from the strategic reserve will do little more than temporarily ease oil prices on the stock market. If Obama wanted to show true leadership and actually increase America’s supply of oil, he could speed up EPA permit approval to drill in Alaska, immediately lift the moratorium on drilling permits in the gulf, and end EPA opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline to bring crude from Canada’s tar fields to refineries in the US. Even though some of these measures wouldn’t produce actual barrels of oil for a few years, speculators in the stock market would react immediately to the future supply increases.
Truth is, Obama’s thrilled that oil prices are high. He wants you to pay more for energy. The Obama Administration wants to kick you out of your gasoline engine car and onto “high speed” rail (top speed = 79 MPH) or into battery powered tin cans.
Obama’s release of the oil reserves is little more than a campaign stunt—a morsel thrown to try to convince Americans hurting from job losses and higher food and gas prices that Obama is doing something to fix the economy. The dirty little truth is that he is not.
Barack Obama: high on symbolism, low on leadership.