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Durbin Calls on Obama to Tap Petroleum Reserve

Senator Durbin urged Obama to tap the 727-million barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, maintaining it would combat rising gasoline prices.
March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON �" Speaking on CNN��s "State of the Union" this past weekend, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois called on President Obama to tap the 727-million barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a means for combating rising gasoline prices, The Hill reports.

Obama said last week that he would be willing to tap the reserve to respond to disruptions of the nation��s oil supply. However, Senator Durbin said the reserve should not be limited to supply disruption.

"I��m worried that if we don��t use the reserve that our economic recovery will stall and fall backward," Durbin said. "We don��t need to see unemployment figures going up."

Republicans in the Senate and House oppose tapping the SPR to combat rising gas prices. "The problem is not supply, as all the experts will say," said Senator Jon Kyl, appearing also on "State of the Union." "Gas prices have doubled under Obama and one of the reasons is he has not issued drilling permits, including in the Gulf [of Mexico]."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the price of gasoline has risen from an average of $3.19 per gallon to $3.52 per gallon between February 21 and March 7.