by the numbers
By Jenny Mero

(FORTUNE Magazine) –

President Bush's career as an oil exec may have been undistinguished, but as U.S. chief executive he's done just fine managing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, our nation's emergency oil stockpile. Since taking office, he's added more than $6.5 billion worth of crude--all without spending a dime. In November 2001, on the heels of 9/11, Bush decided to fill the SPR to its then-700-million-barrel capacity. The price of oil has since nearly tripled. Bush avoided paying for the crude by taking advantage of an existing barter exchange between producers and the federal government, which trades oil for the use of government land. After Hurricane Katrina slowed production, the President--in an effort to ease supply shortages--sold 11 million barrels of oil for between $60 and $66 a barrel, bringing $702 million into federal coffers. The Department of Energy estimates that the SPR's stock has been acquired for an average cost of $27 per barrel. If it were all sold today, it'd be worth $44 billion. There's nothing fuzzy about buying low and selling high. -- Jenny Mero