How was the authorized one billion barrel size of the Reserve determined?
Prior to Congress authorizing a crude oil national security storage system, studies were conducted to determine the optimum amount of crude oil that should be stored. Based upon the level of imports at that time (1974-1975), a reserve of 500 million barrels was recommended. Congress, however, foresaw that consumption of petroleum in the United States would increase over time and that import levels would also increase. Therefore, when the Energy Policy and Conservation Act passed in late 1975, the SPR size was authorized up to one billion barrels, with an initial size target of 500 million barrels.