Symbolic SPR Move
There's been a lot of debate about whether releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) can help at all, in light of the refinery capacity problem we face. The short answer is that it can't hurt, and I applaud the Administration's decision to approve an SPR loan request, since at the very least this will remove some of the incentive for further speculation in the crude oil market, barring more bad news. Large-scale releases, though, should await a full assessment of the damage to oil production in the Gulf and the restarting of the idle refineries in the region.
The EPA's waiver of certain gasoline and diesel fuel specifications for the affected states will also ease some supply constraints, but I suspect that for this to be truly effective, it will end up having to be applied to a much wider area, including all the states receiving supplies from the Colonial Pipeline system.
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