Full Title: Why Congress Should Pull the Plug on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Author(s): Nicolas D. Loris
Publisher(s): The Heritage Foundation
Publication Date: 08/2015


Description (excerpt):

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) holds 692.3 million barrels of government-controlled crude oil. Congress established the emergency reserve as part of an agreement with the International Energy Agency. American Presidents, however, have used the reserve more effectively for party politics than as an efficient response to global supply shocks. Moreover, the SPR is unnecessary in the first place. Private inventories and reserves are abundant, and open markets will respond more efficiently to supply shocks than federally controlled government stockpiles. Congress should authorize the Department of Energy to sell the entire inventory, using the revenues solely for deficit reduction. While the amount of revenue would be minor compared to the overall size of the deficit, allocating the revenues explicitly to deficit reduction would prevent politicians from using the money to pay for other projects and legislation.