Should the US tap into its emergency oil reserves to help bring down the price of gasoline?
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found.
Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position.
(Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Chuck Baldwin, former US House Representative (R-GA), stated in a May 2, 2008 article titled "If I Were President" on www.chuckbaldwinlive.com:
"There is absolutely no reason for us to be dependent upon OPEC [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries]. There is enough gas and oil under the soil of Alaska (not to mention the Dakotas and the Gulf of Mexico) to meet the energy needs of the United States for the next 150-200 years. There is also no reason that gas should cost more than $1.50 a gallon (which is about what it was before Bush became President).
We must begin drilling for the domestic oil that we know exists; we must build more refineries and nuclear power plants." May 2, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), in a June 26, 2000 article titled "Costs of High Gas Prices Run Deep," on his US House of Representatives website, stated:
"There are other steps we can and should take to address rising oil prices. The federal government can start by putting real pressure on OPEC nations to increase production and exploring new sources of domestic oil. Washington can loosen restrictions in drilling in certain areas, to encourage exploration and production. The government can also take a look at the extent of our huge strategic petroleum reserves. And, we might start repealing gas taxes that were glibly added in years past." June 26, 2000 Bob Barr
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in an Aug. 28, 2005 Arizona Daily Star article titled "Transcript of John McCain's Roundtable Discussion with Star Editors":
"Daily Star: Do you suppose the strategic oil reserve should be opened up at $3 or $4 or $5 a gallon? McCain: It would be OK with me. It would probably be a week's worth. It wouldn't really address the problem but it would be OK with me. I'm not an expert on oil prices. I cannot predict. But I am knowledgeable enough to know that we've got India and China, two developing industrial nations, and they're going to suck up a lot of the world's oil reserves. Why do you think I met our friend that's the head of Phelps Dodge? Why is the price of copper at an all- time high? The Chinese are buying every scrap of copper that's available. Supply and demand." Aug. 28, 2005 John McCain
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, issued the following statement through his Communications Director and Policy Writer, Loralynne Krobetzky, in an Oct. 20, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), stated in an Aug. 31, 2005 article titled "Obama Statement on the President's Decision to Release Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve" on his official candidate website:
"I agree with the President's decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help replenish supply shortages resulting from Hurricane Katrina. Nearly all oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut down, and releasing this oil will help increase production and stabilize prices. However, I do believe that this tragedy makes it very clear that that the reserve should only be used in the event of an emergency, and that we shouldn't be tapping the reserve to provide a small, short-term decrease in gas prices.
Catastrophic events like Hurricane Katrina are the reason the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created, and releasing oil at this time is appropriate. But to truly provide Americans relief from skyrocketing oil prices, we must get serious about decreasing America's dangerous dependence on foreign oil by increasing fuel efficiency and investing more in the renewable fuels that can lead us down the path to energy independence." Aug. 31, 2005 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: ProCon.org emailed the Obama campaign on Mar. 11, 2008 and called them on Mar. 18, 2008 to acquire a Pro or Con position on this question. We had not received a reply as of Mar. 21, 2008.]
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear
below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated in a Nov. 7, 2007 press release titled "Statement of Hillary Clinton on High Gas Prices" on her official candidate website:
"With oil nearing $100 a barrel and gas prices over $3 per gallon, Americans are feeling the pain of seven years of a failed Bush-Cheney energy policy...
I urge the President to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve to send a signal to the market and ease concerns about low crude oil stocks that are driving prices higher." Nov. 7, 2007 Hillary Clinton
Mike Gravel, former US Senator (D-AK), at the June 3, 2007 Democratic Presidential Debate in Manchester, NH, stated:
"There's nothing I would do as President to lower the price of gasoline right now. We Americans have to grow up. If we want to get off of the dependency on the Middle East we have to own up to the problem. These things cost money. They're controlling our society. And the sooner we stop fighting these wars -- here, stop and think: You only see $3. Just watch those wheels turn. There's another $4 -- which is what we spend to keep American troops around the world to keep the price. So you're paying more than $7 a gallon, you just don't know it." June 3, 2007 Mike Gravel
Daniel Imperato, an Independent candidate and business entrepreneur, stated in a Mar. 11, 2008 telephone interview with ProCon.org:
"No I don't support tapping into the US emergency reserves. I do support additional drilling...There is plenty of oil available coming into oil wells from refineries of United States of America. There are new techniques to extract more oil. The fact of the matter is we need to diversify our energy program." Mar. 11, 2008 Daniel Imperato
Alan Keyes, former Assistant US Secretary of State, stated in an Oct. 26, 2004 debate sponsored by WTTW and the City Club of Chicago:
"I think that the real question, when you have high gasoline prices, is to ask why the prices are high.
Right this moment, I think that's kinda hard to explain, because we don't see, anywhere that I can tell, in the world, where there is a problem with production or other things, so we'd need to examine that.
But, over the long term? I think we need to develop proper alternative fuels. I think we need to develop ethanol. We need to push on the research, where breakthroughs are occurring, to get hydrogen from ethanol." Oct. 26, 2004 Alan Keyes
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Mar. 12 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"No. If we're going to have a strategic oil reserve, it should be used for its intended purpose (ensuring that our armed forces don't run out of gas in a war situation). Tapping it every time prices go up is just a way of distorting the market for political purposes -- hiding the real cost of oil so that our politicians can avoid dealing with the consequences of their policies." Mar. 12, 2008 Steve Kubby
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Mar. 19, 2008 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"No, tapping into the strategic reserve now would do nothing to affect the worldwide price of oil. The only things that will affect the price of oil would be a slowing of the world economy (possibly happening) or the United States developing a comprehensive, long-term energy plan to greatly reduce our dependence on all oil." Mar. 19, 2008 Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), wrote in a May 8, 2006 article titled, "Foreign Policy, Monetary Policy, and Gas Prices," posted on his official candidate website:
"The price of oil, like everything else, depends on supply and demand. What we really need to focus on is how government keeps the supply of refined gasoline too low. This is not as easy as demanding price controls, and does not fit into 30-second sound bites. But as with so many issues, we must peel away decades of government interference to really understand the problem.
Most people understand that federal restrictions on exploring, drilling, and refining domestic oil have made us dependent on various questionable Middle East governments. We should expand this into a greater understanding of how American foreign policy increases gas prices here at home. Before the war in Iraq, oil was about $28 per barrel. Today it is over $70. Iraq was a significant source of worldwide oil, but its production has dropped 50% since 2002. Pipeline sabotage and fires are routine; we have been unable to prevent them. Furthermore, the general instability in the Middle East created by the war causes oil prices to rise everywhere." May 8, 2006 Ron Paul