Geithner says oil reserves can be tapped if needed

His views that rising oil prices will boost inflation are similar to those held by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who told lawmakers this week that they would probably have a short-term effect and wouldn't require action from the central bank. 

"Oil prices alone, with nothing else moving, would probably not be enough to make us respond," Bernanke told a House panel on Wednesday. 

The Treasury and the Obama administration are monitoring oil prices and a potential supply disruption, and will act if the risks escalate, Geithner said. 

"In the United States, rising gasoline prices have left consumers with less money to spend, but underlying inflation across all goods and services is modest," he said.

Geithner also talked about U.S. sanctions against Libya and said that federal officials have frozen $32 billion in assets under U.S. control, up from $30 billion last week. He said the government has found another $1.9 billion in assets in the past couple of days.