President George W. Bush says that one of the greatest challenges facing the United States is finding a way to reduce its dependence on oil – particularly foreign oil. Such dependence, he said, makes the United States vulnerable the actions of unfriendly governments:
"In other words, somebody doesn't like us, they produce the oil, they decide to do something about it, they can affect us. . . .You don't want your president sitting in the [White House's] Oval Office worried about the activities of a hostile regime that could have all kinds of impacts on our security, starting with economic security." (END ACT) Dependence on foreign oil, said Mr. Bush, also makes the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorists:
"If a terrorist were able to destroy infrastructure somewhere else in the world, it's going to affect what you pay for at the gasoline pump. . . .The terrorists attacked us in brutal ways; they attacked us by flying airplanes into our buildings. But we're also vulnerable to attacks through infrastructure around the world that could cause your price, the price you pay, to go up."
In order to reduce U.S. vulnerability to future oil disruptions, the U.S. Department of Energy will soon begin moving to double the capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the U.S. emergency petroleum stockpile, to one-and-a-half billion barrels by 2027. The U.S. has already increased this reserve by one-hundred-million barrels to its current capacity of seven-hundred-million barrels.
President Bush asked the U.S. Congress to support expanding the supply of alternative fuels such as ethanol, the alcohol-based fuel made by fermenting and distilling corn. He also called for modernizing fuel economy standards for cars, which could save billions of gallons of gasoline over the next ten years.
"By taking these steps," said President Bush, "we can help achieve a great goal: reducing the use of gasoline in the United States by twenty percent in the next ten years, and cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.