March 15 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama discussed a release of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve during his meeting in Washington yesterday with U.K. 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 the U.S. 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 two leaders discussed energy markets and oil prices, a White House official confirmed. The official, who wasn’t authorize to speak publicly, wouldn’t say if talks included the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The U.S. 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 yesterday that rising oil prices are something “all economies will be concerned about.”