In 1973, the United States and other western countries were shocked by the Arab oil embargo. Lines formed at gasoline pumps; fuel stations ran out of supply; prices skyrocketed; and the nation realized its vulnerability to decisions made by leaders of countries half a world away.
In response, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1975, has become the nation’s primary tool of energy policy. Following its first major use during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, officials and policy makers at the highest levels increasingly turned to the SPR to stave off shortages and mitigate rising energy prices.
Author and historian Bruce A. Beaubouef examines, for the first time, the interactions that have shaped the development of the SPR. He argues that the SPR has survived because it is a passive regulatory tool that serves to protect energy consumers and petroleum consumption and does not compete with the American oil industry. Indeed, by the late twentieth century, as American import dependency reached new heights, refiners and transporters increasingly relied upon the SPR as a ready resource to help maintain feedstock when supplies were tight or disrupted.
In a time of continued vulnerability, this definitive work will be of interest to those concerned with the history, economy, and politics of the oil and gas industry, as well as to historians and practitioners of oil and energy policy.