With oil prices at their highest levels since September 2008—a barrel of crude oil topped $107 on the Nymex—Obama defended his record on domestic oil production, claiming it is at a seven-year high:
So any notion that my administration has shut down oil production might make for a good political sound bite, but it doesn't match up with reality. We are encouraging offshore exploration and production. We're just doing it responsibly.The administration is "prepared" to tap the country's oil reserves if necessary, the president said. But he stressed that traditionally such a move has been made only when there are supply disruptions:
In an economy that relies on oil, gas prices affect everybody, from farmers and truck drivers to restaurant owners and workers, as well as consumers. And businesses see rising prices affect their bottom line. Families see the pinch every time they fill up the tank.
Right now what we're seeing is not a shortage of supply. The problem is a great deal of uncertainty in the oil markets.Obama would not specify what price level would trigger a release from the strategic reserve.
Here at home, everybody should know that, should the situation demand it, we are prepared to tap the significant stockpile of oil that we have in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.