The Senate today approved legislation to temporarily suspend deliveries to the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, by a vote of 97-1. The measure was inserted as an amendment to a flood insurance bill, and was opposed only by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.).
The Energy Department sends 70,000 barrels of oil to the reserve every day, a practice that this legislation would put on hold until the end of 2008 or until oil drops below $75 a barrel, whichever comes first. It’s estimated that the measure could reduce gas prices anywhere between 5 to 24 cents a gallon.
The House is expected to approve the measure as stand-alone legislation today as well. [UPDATE: Yep, the House passed it.]
According to a statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office today, “Democrats and Republicans agree that the American people would benefit from suspending these government acquisitions and purchases.” It’s one of the few things they agree on in terms of energy policy these days.
President Bush opposes a pause on filling the reserve, but it’s unclear whether he’d veto it, as it has wide support on both sides of the aisle.
Meanwhile, Grist would like to remind you that cheaper oil shouldn’t be an excuse to use more of it.