President Bush has ordered a substantial increase in America's emergency stockpile of oil. Millions of barrels will be added to the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The President says he is taking the action to strengthen the long-term energy security of the United States.
In a written statement, he said America's current oil inventories and those of its allies are sufficient to meet any potential near-term disruption in supplies. He says his goal is to guard against future problems.
The reserve, which currently has 544 million barrels will be filled to its full capacity of 700 million barrels.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham says the additional oil will be added over time. "We don't have a fixed timetable," he said. "The announcement this morning, though, indicates once again the president's commitment to energy security."
Some private economists have been urging the President to increase the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for another reason. They argue the move will also signal U.S. intentions to help stabilize world oil prices at a time when major producers are worried about a drop in global demand.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created by the U.S. Congress in 1975 as a response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. The oil is stored in a series of salt caverns along the Gulf Coast of the United States.