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:
Dependence on foreign oil, said Mr. Bush, also makes the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorists:
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 1.5 billion barrels by 2027. The U.S. has already increased this reserve by 100 million barrels to its current capacity of 700 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 20 percent in the next 10 years, and cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East."