President Barack Obama discussed a release of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve during his meeting in Washington on Wednesday with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, a U.K. official with knowledge of the talks said.
The leaders spoke on the issue without reaching a decision, according to the official, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Democrats in Congress have urged Obama to use the oil stockpile as gasoline prices have risen amid the standoff with Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, has increased 7.2 percent from a year ago, according to AAA data. Brent crude, the benchmark grade for U.S. imports from Europe and Africa, has climbed 15 percent in the past 12 months.
The United States has used its reserve 18 times since 1985, including in 2008 after hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast. It was last tapped in July and August 2011 under an International Energy Agency effort to ease shortages of Middle East supply.
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said on Wednesday that rising oil prices are something “all economies will be concerned about.”
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