Phoenix Congressman John Shadegg supports the Bush administration's move Wednesday to release oil supplies from federal strategic reserves in order to ease the strain of skyrocketing gasoline prices.
Gasoline and crude oil prices have soared above already-record levels this week due to Hurricane Katrina's massive hit on the Gulf Coast and its energy operations.
The New Orleans Gulf Coast area accounts for one-third of the domestic petroleum production and the storm has knocked refineries and drilling rigs out of commission.
The average price of gasoline in Arizona stands at a record $2.67 per gallon. High demand and the hurricane damage could propel that above $3 per gallon.
Shadegg told The Business Journal that the Bush administration should release fuel from national reserves, but said that long-term solutions to the energy problems include increasing domestic refinery capacity.
Mark Brnovich, a senior fellow with the Goldwater Institute think tank, agreed with Shadegg that the key is increased refinery capacity, pointing to the fact that no new refineries have been built in the U.S for three decades.
The Bush administration and congressional Republicans are under intense pressure as record oil and gasoline prices threaten economic confidence.