Texas Lawmakers Want US to Tap Oil Reserves

Houston area Congress members are trying to modernize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The want to sell oil from the reserve and invest it in renewable fuels. Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

Most refineries across the US use a sixty forty mixture of light and heavy crude oil. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is filled with only the light crude. On average that costs about twelve dollars more a barrel. With gas prices at record highs Texas lawmakers say the US should sell some of that light crude. Democrat Gene Green says the reserve’s mixture should resemble Houston refineries.

“But a lot of our refineries use a heavier crude. And so we can benefit by making sure, the tax payers would benefit, by making sure that the mix we have in the strategic reserve is actually closer to the mix we have in our refineries in the Houston area and in our country really. Although we have most of them in the gulf coast of Texas.”

The bill calls for the sale of seventy million barrels of oil, or ten percent of what is currently in the reserve. That would raise one billion dollars. Supporters, like Democrat Nick Lampson, want to invest that money in research for renewables.

“We can through this bill not only have a type of oil that can best be processed in our current refineries, but we can also increase the amount of oil in the reserve. I think that makes us safer.”

The Department of Energy has not said whether it supports or opposes the plan. The bill already has more than thirty co-sponsors, but House leaders have not signaled when they will let it come to the floor for a vote.

From Capitol News Connection in Washington, I’m Matt Laslo.