WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Tuesday voted to stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help reduce the retail price of gasoline.
The Hill reported that the measure passed 97-1, with Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., opposing the bill.
"Why on earth should we be putting oil underground at a time of record high prices?" argued Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the measure's chief sponsor, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., did not vote, the Hill said.
"Democrats today led the charge against one of the root causes of skyrocketing oil and gas prices," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., following the vote.
"Instead of hiding barrels of oil in the nearly full Strategic Petroleum Reserve, we want to put them on the market to increase supply and lower prices," Reid said.
For his part, U.S. President George Bush has resisted calls to suspend the delivery of about 70,000 barrels a day to the emergency stockpile. He said doing so would have little impact on prices in a nation that uses about 21 million barrels a day.