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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 18, 2008
Fact Sheet: Reducing Gas Prices and Foreign Oil Dependence
President Bush Urges Congress To Expand Domestic Oil Production
Today, President Bush called on Congress to help American families by removing barriers to domestic production of oil and gasoline. For many Americans, there is no more pressing concern than high gasoline prices. Behind them is the basic law of supply and demand. In recent years, the world's demand for oil has grown dramatically. Meanwhile, the supply of oil has grown much more slowly. As a result, oil prices have risen sharply, and that increase has been reflected at American gas pumps. And now much of the oil consumed in America comes from abroad, including from unstable regions and unfriendly regimes. The Bush Administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats have rejected virtually every proposal. Now, Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction.
Congress Needs To Respond Now To The President's Call To Expand Our Domestic Production
President Bush asks Democratic Congressional leaders to move forward with four steps to expand American oil and gasoline production. With these four steps, we will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline; strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil; and strengthen our ability to convince foreign producers to increase their oil and gas production. The results will not be immediate, but the sooner Congress acts, the sooner Americans will be better off. Specifically, to expand American oil production, Congress should:
1. Increase access to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Experts believe that areas under leasing prohibitions on the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. Actual resources may be greater, but we will not know until exploration is allowed. The problem is that Congress has restricted access to much of the OCS since the early 1980s. Since then, advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills. With these advances and a dramatic increase in oil prices these Congressional restrictions have become outdated and counterproductive.
2. Tap into the extraordinary potential of oil shale. Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other processes. In one major deposit the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming there lies the equivalent of about 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. If it can be fully recovered, it would equal more than a century's worth of currently projected oil imports.
3. Permit exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 1995, Congress passed legislation allowing oil production in a small fraction of ANWR's 19.6 million acres, yet President Clinton vetoed the bill. With a drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres about 0.01 percent of this distant Alaskan terrain America could produce an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil. This is the equivalent of roughly two decades of imported crude oil from Saudi Arabia.
4. Expand and enhance our refinery capacity. It has been 30 years since our Nation built a new refinery, and upgrades in our refining capacity are urgently needed. Refineries are the critical link between crude oil and the gasoline and diesel fuel that drivers put in their tanks. America now imports millions of barrels of fully-refined gasoline from abroad, imposing needless costs on American consumers and depriving American workers of good jobs.
These Proposals Will Take Years To Have Their Full Impact, But That Is No Excuse For Delay
For the long run, we are dealing with the demand for oil by promoting alternative energy technologies. President Bush's Administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, mandated a large expansion in the use of alternative fuels, and raised fuel efficiency standards to ambitious new levels. With all these steps, we are bringing America closer to the day when we can end our addiction to oil.
Building on this progress, President Bush announced the "Twenty in Ten" initiative in his 2007 State of the Union address. Congress responded to this challenge and passed and the President signed, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which mandates that fuel producers use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022. EISA also requires a national fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 which will increase fuel economy by 40 percent and save billions of gallons of fuel.
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