In an effort to bring relief to consumers as gas prices rise to record highs, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon voted for legislation Tuesday (May 13) that would suspend the fill of the nation's Strategic
Petroleum Reserve while oil prices remain above $75 per barrel.
"Gas prices near $4 a gallon are taking a chunk out of people's wallets," said Gordon. "The high prices have forced families to rethink their budgets and make tough choices about where to cut back on household expenses."
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation to halt shipments of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until the end of the year as long as prices remain above $75 per barrel. The reserve serves as the nation's emergency oil supply.
Past presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as President George W. Bush, have tapped or suspended fill of the reserve in the past. After such action in 2000, the price of oil
dropped by one-third - from $30 to $20.
"Filling the reserve takes 70,000 barrels of oil off the market each day," said Gordon. "Experts predict this bill could lower gas prices by 5 to 24 cents per gallon. That's not enough and there's
still work to do to provide relief to consumers, but this is a first step."
The reserve, which holds 727 million barrels of oil, is 97percent full.
Gordon said Tuesday's congressional action would be followed by additional House efforts on energy.
"We need a smarter, cleaner energy future for America," said Gordon. "In the coming days, the House will consider legislation to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and we will hold OPEC-controlled entities and oil companies responsible for price fixing," said Gordon.