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E-M:/ FW: Bush Administration's Plan Fails to Cut Record High Oil Prices



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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For Immediate Release: August 24, 2004
Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 675-2384

      Bush Administration's Plan Fails to Cut Record High Oil Prices;
          Surging Prices Expected to Reach $50 a Barrel This Week

Washington, D.C. -- Oil prices are expected to hit a record high $50 a
barrel this week, underscoring the need for a sound, forward-looking
energy
policy for the United States.  Spurred on by the escalating conflict in
Iraq, supply disruptions in Russia, and rising world demand, oil prices
are
now 49 percent higher than they were a year ago.

"With oil prices approaching $50 a barrel, the Bush administration has
failed to give the country what it needs: an energy policy with real
solutions like making our cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas,
increasing our use of clean, renewable energy sources like wind and
solar
power, and aggressive measures to increase energy efficiency," said Carl
Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "Taking these steps would not only
protect the environment and increase America's energy security, but it
would save consumers billions of dollars."

While rising oil prices reflect current concerns surrounding
international
production, it also reflects growing international demand.  The U.S.
Department of Energy projects that world oil consumption will jump from
its
current levels of 79.26 million barrels per day (mbd) to 120.9 mbd by
2025
-- an increase of 53 percent.  Given this trend, the United States will
become increasingly dependent on an international oil market where
demand
stretches supply to its maximum.  This strained marketplace will become
increasingly susceptible to price spikes and disruptions.

This spells trouble for the United States which consumes 25 percent of
the
world's oil, yet sits on less than 3 percent of the proven oil reserves.
According to the Department of Energy, even if we drilled for oil in the
Arctic Refuge, we would still need to import over two-thirds of our oil.
As a result, the only way to cut U.S. oil dependence is to reduce
demand.
The greatest reductions in demand can come from U.S. vehicles, which
consume over 8 million barrels of oil per day.

"We will never be able to drill our way to energy independence," said
Pope.
"Given this reality, the only way to decrease America's exposure to
international oil price spikes is to cut our oil consumption. Existing
gas-saving technology could be saving consumers' money at the gas pump
right now."

Existing technology could ensure that all new cars, trucks and SUVs
average
40 miles per gallon within 10 years, saving the average consumer over
$2,200 in net savings over the life of a vehicle and nearly 4 million
barrels of oil per day by 2020 -- more oil than we currently import from
the entire Persian Gulf or could ever take out of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, combined.

"Instead of offering a sound energy policy, the Bush administration has
rekindled its efforts to promote an outdated energy policy," said Pope.
"The same old plan -- more polluting power plants, more tax breaks for
oil
companies -- won't solve our problems or protect American consumers from
rising oil prices."

The Bush administration's own Department of Energy stated two months ago
that if the Bush administration's energy policy became law, "changes to
[the] production, consumption, imports, and prices [of energy] are
negligible."  This policy undermines basic environmental protections
like
the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and opens up our
pristine
public lands and coastlines to increased oil and gas drilling.  At the
same
time, it rewards polluting industries with billions of taxpayer dollars.

"Our continuing oil dependence puts our economy, national security, and
environment at risk.  America needs a strong energy policy that will
move
us forward into the 21st century, and we deserve an energy policy that
offers responsible, clean energy solutions," said Pope. "It's time to
scrap
the Bush administration's flawed energy policy and start putting clean
energy technology to work."



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