Oil reserves release may ease pain at pump

Those whose wallets are gassed from filling up, may be pumped to hear relief is on the way.

Lower prices at the pump is the goal of President Barack Obama and the Department of Energy’s plan to release 30 million barrels into the world market from the country’s oil reserves.

An additional 30 million barrels from partners in the International Energy Agency will be released.

Unrest in Libya has caused the loss if nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.

“We are taking this action in response to the ongoing loss of crude oil due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to take additional steps if necessary.”

Earlier this week Senator Chuck Schumer announced the Federal Trade Commission will begin investigating whether U.S. refineries are responsible for inflated prices at the pump. Refineries are operating at 80 percent of their capacity, which equals a 900,000 per day decrease when compared to 2010.

Gas prices in New York City are currently $4.036, up more than a dollar from last year when prices came in at under three dollars, according to AAA’s fuel gauge report. Filling up a 12-gallon tank costs motorists almost $50 – over 36 percent more than a year ago. Gas prices have slowly been declining since approaching all-time highs in May.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) the oil is coming from is at historically high-levels with 727 million barrels. It was last tapped into following Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

With many Americans hitting the road for weekend getaways and vacations, the summer months often see gas demand at its highest – and higher prices to go with it.

Oil prices are down over four dollars per barrel since the news of the release of oil reserves.

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