The White House caught everyone off-guard Thursday by announcing that it would release about 30 million barrels of crude oil from emergency reserves, as part of a multinational effort aimed at boosting supplies and bringing down gas prices.
In all, members of the International Energy Agency — the oil-importing nations’ answer to the OPEC cartel — plan to release 60 million barrels. The stated rationale was making up for the 1.4 million barrels a day not being supplied due to the Libyan civil war. The fact that crude prices were up almost 20 percent this year, before falling Thursday to a four-month low, was also surely a factor.
So, too, was the agony in the U.S. over gas prices that, in metro Atlanta and elsewhere, hit an average of more than $4 a gallon at one point this spring.
That said, the Associated Press reported two interesting facts about the size and timing of the release:
[T]he 30 million barrels to be sold by the United States represents less than two days’ worth