The U.S. House voted Tuesday on a resolution that would halt the filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. Proponents of the measure say it could lower gas prices by as much as 24 cents a gallon. But President Bush says that it will have little impact.
By a veto-proof majority, the U.S. Senate voted to suspend the filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, an emergency oil supply created after the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
Representative Rosa DeLauro supports the measure. She told WNPRâ€™s "Where We Live" that previous Presidents have temporarily stopped filling the reserve, and it has produced a short-term reduction in oil costs.
â€œThis could immediately reduce gas prices by between five and 24 cents a gallon. Itâ€™s a critical first step.â€
The reserves are a set of underground salt caverns that can hold up to 727 million barrels of crude oil. 70,000 barrels of oil are hauled daily to the reserves, which are at 97% capacity right now.
Steven Guveyan is the executive director of the Connecticut Petroleum Council, a trade association consisting of major oil companies and refiners. He says some analysts predict that the miniscule amount of oil being shuffled into the reserves canâ€™t have a dramatic effect on prices. And he says, the U.S. Department of Energy forecasts the price per gallon could go down by as little as 4 or 5 cents.
â€œThe price of crude oil is really set by worldwide supply and demand and lately the falling dollar. It is not set by what the strategic petroleum fill rate here is, in this country. So there just doesnâ€™t seem to be that kind of strong link that the proponents like to make.â€
Governor Jodi Rell supports the measure, saying it will help "the families of Connecticut [who] are struggling to cope with the epic upward spiral of energy prices."