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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry testifies before a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on his nomination to be Energy secretary. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Rick Perry releases 500,000 barrels of crude oil to prevent spike in gas prices

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he’s releasing 500,000 barrels of crude oil from an emergency stockpile in a bid to prevent gasoline prices from spiking in the wake of disruptions caused by Harvey.

Perry says he’s authorized immediate shipments of crude to the Phillips 66 refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He says the Energy Department will review other requests for oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency stockpile that guards against supply disruptions.

The petroleum reserve was created in the wake of the 1970s Arab oil embargo. The reserve stores oil at four underground sites in Texas and Louisiana.

Gasoline prices have increased by at least 10 cents a gallon since Harvey came ashore and caused record flooding, shutting down oil refineries along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.