WASHINGTON, DC – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the US airlines, today testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on the critical importance of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help bring immediate relief to consumers and businesses suffering from high fuel prices.
“ATA is calling for a release of 10 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, beginning immediately. History has shown that a temporary increase in supply will help lower prices,” said ATA president and CEO James C. May. “Oil prices are hurting our nation’s families and economy and the industries that drive that economy.”
Due to limited refining capacity and surging global demand, jet fuel is costing as much as $30 per barrel more than gasoline and, through July 15, is averaging 71 percent more than in 2007. ATA projects that US airlines will spend more than $61 billion on fuel in 2008, $20 billion more than in 2007, which is more than the combined fuel bill in the first four years of this decade.
May noted that many factors have led to triple-digit oil prices. ATA and its member airlines have long supported both short- and long-term solutions with three essential elements – increasing domestic supply, reining in unchecked speculation in the energy futures markets and a release from the SPR.
“The entire US economy is being severely impacted by sky-high energy prices. A release of additional barrels into the market and swift legislation to curb oil speculation will bring down oil prices now,” said May. “A balanced, comprehensive national energy policy is the only kind that will bring the quick, meaningful and lasting relief this nation needs.”
May provided an outline for the SPR release, including:
— Follow an unannounced release schedule
— Release light, sweet crude oil first
— Restore US commercial inventories, at a minimum, to previous year’s levels
— Dedicate revenues from the sale of SPR barrels to the development of alternative energy sources
— For Congress to set up a framework or trigger for continued use of the SPR when conditions warrant
ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all US airline passenger and cargo traffic.