U.S. President Barack Obama's chief of staff says the administration is looking at the nation's oil reserves as it considers options for dealing with the spike in gas prices.


Gas prices are seen at a station in Malibu, Calif., on Thursday. ((Lucy Nicholson/Reuters))

The price of a barrel of oil has passed $100 US. In the United States, gasoline is averaging $3.50 a gallon. In Canada, it's above $1.20 Cdn a litre in many areas.

Those increases come amid unrest in the oil-producing Middle East, particularly as rebellion rages in Libya.

"We're looking at the options," including drawing on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, William Daley said Sunday. "It is something that only is done — and has been done — in very rare occasions.

"There's a bunch of factors that have to be looked at. And it is just not the price."

He told NBC's Meet the Press that "all matters have to be on the table when … you see the difficulty coming out of this economic crisis we're in and the fragility of it."

The U.S. reserve contains 727 million barrels of oil.