President Details Plan to Cut Dependence on Foreign Oil

President George W. Bush rolled out Monday plans to slash US reliance on oil supplied from unstable regions and so boost the energy-hungry country's defenses against extremist attack.

The directive to cut gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next 10 years will make the United States "more secure for generations to come," help economic growth and safeguard the environment, Bush said.

The so-called "20 in 10" plan was first laid out in Bush's State of the Union speech in January, seeking to slash US oil imports from the restive Middle East and make US energy supply less vulnerable to terrorism.

The president Monday presented legislative proposals for Congress and ordered regulatory action from his cabinet members in charge of transportation, energy, agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by end-2008.

"Our dependence on oil creates a risk for our economy because a supply disruption anywhere in the world could drive up American gas (gasoline) prices to even more painful levels,"
he said in the White House Rose Garden.

"Our dependence on oil creates a threat to America's national security because it leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes and to terrorists who could attack oil infrastructure.

"For all these reasons, America has a clear national interest in reducing our dependence on oil."

Bush urged Congress to pass legislation setting fuel economy standards that would result in quintupling the current consumption of renewable and alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons (133 billion liters) by 2017.

The aim is to reduce the reliance on gasoline and slash US oil imports from the Middle East by three-quarters, with a view to boosting the security of the world's top energy-consuming nation.

"The (administrative) steps I announced today are not a substitute for effective legislation,"
the president said, appealing to the Democratic-led Congress to adopt his new energy initiative.

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