Energy secretary Spencer Abraham confirmed reports his department was looking at advancing oil from the SPR on a short term loan basis until supply disruptions are fixed.
In addition to reduced domestic production the three recent hurricanes have also delayed marine imports of crude, leading to the squeeze in supply to refineries.
Two refining companies were reported to have asked to borrow oil from the SPR to meet short-term disruptions. Two other producing companies have been reported as having asked permission to delay deliveries of crude into SPR stocks.
President Bush has until this moment refrained from tapping into the SPR, despite, or possibly due to, repeated pressure from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to release oil from the reserve to ease the suffering of US motorists.
The SPR was initiated to ease high petrol prices after the 1973-74 oil price shocks.