Should the U.S. tap into our emergency fuel supplies to reduce the pressure on fast-rising oil and gas prices?
That is the key question this morning and the first real stress test for the government since the financial crisis.
It is very easy to say that we should hold off and be prudent but when gas prices have jumped ~$0.60/gallon since the start of the year and over $0.15/gallon in just the last week, but rationale is rarely present in times of panic and fear spreads quickly.
As you may have noticed, I have stopped talking about oil prices in terms of barrels.
The idea is to underscore the shifting values of our times.
A few years back, the country as a whole looked at oil prices as an usissue. Today, people are a lot more concerned with how will I get to where I need to be. The attention is on individual pockets and savings, not necessarily...overall economic improvements.
Market driven logic hasn't waned in value, but it certainly has in terms of effects on decision making. Keep that in mind as you read on.
The Expert's Take
Daniel Yergin became a household name in the academic world in 1992, with his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Prize. More than aptly titled, it's a great historical primer on the oil industry and the myriad of factors which surround it.
Today, Yergin is the chair of Yergin suggests the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves should be used solely to combat supply shortages, and not to lower fuel prices.Cambridge Energy Research Associates. In a video interview worth watching
Recently, several House Democrats went on record, asking the President to open up reserves as political instability in Libya fueled oil prices to a 2 and a 1/2 year high.
With the summer driving season fast approaching, it is understandable why some would be nervous.
Even though I almost always agree with the logic Yergin puts forth, perhaps things are different this time around?
Perhaps, a release of American oil supplies would have a calming effect on oil markets?
Perhaps a demonstration of American oil reserve capacity and more importantly, the will to use IT, would send a subliminally stabilizing message to the MENA region.
Even though nobody will come out and say it in the mainstream press...we all know full well there are some serious power plays going on behind the scenes right now. Maybe a reserve tap could have a positive effect?
Though it goes against my general beliefs, I am open to hearing this side of the argument...
How do you guys feel about it?
Is it time to unscrew our spigots?
Or should we let the markets sort it out?