No Price Gouging

Bush addresses nation on energy, social security

WASHINGTON -- President Bush told the America people in a televised, prime-time speech last week that there will be no price gouging at gas pumps in America.

In the address, which was divided mainly between the topics of energy and social security reform, he said, Millions of American families and small businesses are hurting because of higher gasoline prices. My administration is doing everything we can to make gasoline more affordable. In the near-term, we will continue to encourage oil-producing nations to maximize their production. Here at home, [image-nocss] we'll protect consumers.

He added, We must address the root causes that are driving up gas prices. Over the past decade, America's energy consumption has been growing about 40 times faster than our energy production. That means we're relying more on energy produced abroad. To reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, we must take four key steps. First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy. Secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power. Third, we must develop promising new sources of energy, such as hydrogen, ethanol or biodiesel. Fourth, we must help growing energy consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently, and reduce global demand of fossil fuels.

And the president admonished the Senate concerning passage of the energy bill: I applaud the House for passing a good energy bill. Now the Senate needs to act on this urgent priority. American consumers have waited long enough. To help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, Congress needs to get an energy bill to my desk by this summer so I can sign it into law.

During the question and answer session, Bush was asked what effect the energy bill will have on the current record price of oil and gasoline. He responded, The energy bill is certainly no quick fix. You can't wave a magic wand. I wish I could. It's like that soldier at Fort Hood that said, how come you're not lowering the price of gasoline? I was having lunch with the fellow, and he said, go lower the price of gasoline, President. I said, I wish I could. It just doesn't work that way.

He continued, This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country. And it's going to take us a while to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. What I've laid out for the Congress to consider is a comprehensive energy strategy that recognizes we need to be better conservers of energy, that recognizes that we can find more energy at home in environmentally friendly ways.

And obviously a contentious issue in front of the Congress is the issue over the ANWR. ANWR is 19 million acres of land. Technology now enables us to use just 2,000 of that 19 million to be able to explore for oil and gas so we can have oil and gas produced here domestically.

When pressed by another reporter on the question of gasoline prices, Bush said, 10 years ago, if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. But we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in. It's taken us a while to get there, and it's going to take us a while to get out. Hopefully, additional crude oil on the market from countries with some spare capacity will help relieve the price for the American consumers.

To read a complete transcript or view a webcast of the president's speech, click here.