Energy chief taps emergency oil reserve in wake of Harvey

The roof of a gas station sits in flood waters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Aransas Pass, Texas. Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, smashing homes and businesses and lashing the shore with wind and rain so intense that drivers were forced off the road because they could not see in front of them. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.