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Why Have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
FRB of St. Louis
2024.03.22
After the 1973 oil embargo that saw skyrocketing gas prices in the United States, Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which established the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve (SPR).1 The Act permits the president to order drawdowns from the SPR in the case of "a severe energy supply interruption."2 The SPR has an authorized capacity of 714 million barrels of oil, held in 60 caverns among 4 sites near the U.S. Gulf Coast.3 This essay briefly explains the history and traditional use of the SPR and explores alternative strategies for it.