U.S. taps oil reserves to meet demand, lower prices

| Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fuel demand in the summer usually guarantees a jump in prices at the pump. But this year, the White House is releasing 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to meet demand and keep prices down.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the maneuver on Thursday, June 23. Countries in the International Energy Agency also planned to release an additional 30 million barrels for a worldwide total of 60 million barrels throughout July and August.

Officials say there’s not a shortage of oil, but recent factors on the supply side have had an effect on prices.

Earlier this year, civil unrest caused Libya to cease production of 1.5 million barrels per day. And last month, OPEC failed to come to an agreement to increase production.

Light sweet crude, the type of oil most commonly associated with diesel fuel, was trading between $94 and $97 a barrel earlier this week in New York, but had dropped to near $91 a barrel following the Energy Department’s announcement.

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