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White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said Sunday that the recovery is strong but the surging price of oil “can have a serious impact on it” and cause pain for consumers.

That is why the administration is considering whether it should release oil from the strategic reserve to ease prices, he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” But he added that such a maneuver is used only “on rare occasions” and factors other than price must be satisfied for the president to invoke that authority.

He blamed the price spike on uncertainty about how the unrest will play out in the Middle East and whether it will cause production halts in top oil exporters besides Libya.

Ned Brines, a stock-market commentator who lives in California, said he is alarmed like everyone else about the rapid escalation of fuel prices.

“Holy cow! I paid $4.09 a gallon on Thursday, and I drove by the same station this morning and the price had jumped to $4.29,” he said. “I may start biking again.”

But he said he doubts releasing oil from the strategic reserve will help much, given that the country already has record inventories of oil on hand at refineries and oil hubs, and that has not prevented oil prices from marching upward.

David Malpass, president of Encima Global and a former Reagan administration Treasury official, said he agrees with critics on Capitol Hill that the Fed is going too far to try to shield the economy against every adverse development at the risk of triggering inflation.

“The Fed keeps pushing more money in. They are buying the national debt every day,” he said. “It sets a bad precedent in which people will expect the Fed to buy assets whenever the economy slows down.

“Three years from now, we wont like the results,” he added.