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President Bush on Energizing America

What energy challenges does the United States face?

May 5, 2005

What energy challenges does the United States face?

With U.S. gasoline prices rising ever higher, President Bush has stepped up his efforts to convince Americans that his energy policy is the one that best addresses America's energy needs in the long term. Our Read My Lips feature tracks the president's key arguments — and offers insights from others on this crucial debate.

What is the main challenge?

“Our supply of energy is not growing fast enough to meet the demands of our growing economy.”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, April 2005)

How else has President Bush described the problem?

“What people need to hear loud and clear is that we’re running out of energy in America.”
(U.S. President George Bush, May 2001)

Are oil prices a form of taxation?

“Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American Dream. Worst of all, it’s a tax increasing every year.”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, April 2005)

Do others agree with this assessment?

“On environmental grounds — never mind energy security — America taxes gasoline too lightly.”
(Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, February 2002)

How do oil and homeland security relate to each other?

“The less dependent we are on foreign sources of crude oil, the more secure we are at home.”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, October 2001)

In what way is America at a crossroads with its energy policy?

“We’ve got a fundamental question we got to face here in America. Do we want to continue to grow more dependent on other nations to meet our energy needs? Or do we need to do what is necessary to achieve greater control of our economic destiny?”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, April 2005)

What commitment is President Bush hoping to get from Saudi Arabia?

“I don’t think they’re pumping flat out. I think they’re near capacity, and so we’ve just got, got to get a straight answer from the government as to what they think their excess capacity is.”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, April 2005)

How did the Saudis view this request?

“Mr. Bush’s comments were ill-advised and factually have no basis whatsoever.”
(Nawaf Obaid, head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, April 2005)

What strikes other Americans – irrespective of party affiliation – about U.S. energy policy?

“U.S. energy policy is reminiscent of Mark Twain’s quip about the weather: Everyone talks about it — but no one does anything.”
(Timothy E. Wirth, C. Boyden Gray, and John D. Podesta, former U.S. Senator from Colorado, Counsel to former President George H.W. Bush and Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton, respectively, July 2003)

In which sad way does conservation factor into this debate?

“The American idea of an energy debate is to preach conservation — while driving to the mall in an SUV.”
(Bob Samuelson, Newsweek columnist, May 2001)

Could tougher fuel efficiency standards make a difference?

“The last time Washington took oil conservation seriously, Detroit got the job done. In a little over a decade after 1975, the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks went from 15 miles per gallon to 26.”
(Robert C. McFarlane, former U.S. National Security Advisor, April 2005)

What is Vice President Cheney's view?

“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue — but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”
(U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, May 2001)

What, for example, should be done?

“A U.S. government investment of $10 billion for a combination of manufacturing changes and direct consumer incentives would spur the production of millions, not thousands, of new hybrid vehicles.”
(Timothy E. Wirth, C. Boyden Gray, and John D. Podesta, , July 2003)