FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2005
With NY Gas Prices Approaching Record Highs, Senator Demands President Release Oil Reserves To Drop Gas Costs
New Report Finds Average Upstate New York Family With 2 Cars Could Pay $255 More For Gas This Year; Schumer To Detail New Steps To Lower Price of Oil
Even though President Has Previously Refused, OPEC’s Recent Outrageous Cuts in Supply and Skyrocketing Gas Prices Demand Imm
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today vowed to fight to lower prices for New Yorkers who are already paying more than 21 cents per gallon more for gas than last year, as analysts warn another 24 cent hike could be just around the corner. Schumer today unveiled a new study showing that the average New York family with two cars is paying $255 more this year than last year and is leading a bipartisan coalition of Senators in calling on the Administration to release stored government oil reserves that would quickly lower gas prices.
“New Yorkers are being burned by high oil prices to heat their homes and run their cars,” Schumer said. “If we thought last year was bad, I’m afraid we haven’t seen anything yet. Prices are already two dimes ahead of where they were last year at this time with no end in sight. Today I am asking the President to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because we must do everything possible to lower prices, and tapping the SPR is a proven way to drive down gas prices.”
On Friday, the price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at the nearly record setting level of $53.78, and crude oil has been trading at above $50 per barrel since February 22nd. In addition, the average price at the pump in New York has hit $2.06 - already 21 cents higher than it was last year on this date. National average retail gasoline prices have increased by almost $0.07 per gallon over the past week to reach $2.00 and some analysts predict that prices could increase by $0.24 per gallon before gasoline prices fully reflect the recent spike in crude oil prices. . Schumer today released a new analysis showing how much more New Yorkers in each county are paying to for gas over last year’s prices. Specifically, Schumer found that based on the price of gas in each region of the state:
· This year the average two-car family in the Capital Region will pay $308 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in Central New York will pay $265 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in the Hudson Valley will pay $188 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in the Rochester/Finger Lakes area will pay $297 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in the North Country will pay $317 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in the Southern Tier will pay $301 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
· This year the average two-car family in Western New York will pay $241 above the high prices paid at the pump last year.
Schumer said today that in spite of the economic threat created by OPEC's market manipulation, the Administration has continued to adhere to its policy of taking oil off of the market and placing it in the SPR. This policy, which further tightens oil markets by taking much needed supplies out of commerce, is slated to take 92,000 barrels per day off of the market during the height of the driving season between April and September despite the fact that the SPR is currently over 97 percent full.
Schumer today led a bipartisan coalition of Senators, along with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, to urge the Administration to counteract the cartel's supply cuts and calm the markets by deferring deliveries of oil to the SPR and releasing oil from the SPR through a swap. Initiating a swap of oil from the SPR to increase the supply of oil is a proven way to reduce the price of gasoline and heating oil. In the fall of 2000, Schumer successfully convinced the Clinton Administration to swap 30 million barrels over 30 days, causing crude oil prices to quickly fall by over $6 per barrel and wholesale gasoline prices to fall $0.14 per gallon. Under a swap, the federal government could decide on a set quantity of oil to release from the SPR, and accepts bids from private companies for the rights to that oil. The companies would then bid on how much oil they are willing to return to the SPR at a later date. For example, if the federal government decided to release oil and a private company wanted to obtain 10 million barrels, the company could bid for the 10 million barrels by promising 15 million barrels to be returned to the SPR at a later date.
“Prices at the pump are getting out control, and will get much higher unless something is done to rein them in,” Schumer said. “Accessing the SPR is not only smart economic policy, it also put money back into the wallets of New Yorkers.”
Click here to see report.
Ckick here to view letter to Presient Bush.