Bush Correct on ‘U.S. Oil Addiction’ in SOTU, But Missed Opportunity to Rally Citizenry for Energy Efficiency

Release Date: Sunday, January 1, 2006

Washington, D.C., February 1, 2006 – President Bush was right on the mark in describing the United States as “addicted to oil” during his State of the Union address, the Alliance to Save Energy said today. But he missed a golden opportunity to enlist the American public in adopting energy-efficiency measures that could immediately reduce energy consumption and costs.

“Addressing the demand side of the energy equation is crucial for dealing with current and future energy supply and price problems,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “For example, more accurate fuel economy testing could increase real average fuel economy by 4-5 mpg when phased in and save more than 20 billion gallons of gasoline a year by 2020. And classifying SUVs and minivans as passenger vehicles could increase overall fuel economy by 1 mpg, and save five billion gallons of gasoline a year. These measures would save consumers billions of dollars each year, while also easing our oil dependence.”

The Alliance praised the president for his proposal to make permanent the research and development tax credit “to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology,” including in the energy field, and for the proposed Advanced Energy Initiative that would increase by 22 percent the funding for clean energy research by the U.S. Department of Energy. But the Alliance cautioned that the funding designated for this new initiative must not be derived from funding now supporting other important energy-efficiency programs, nor should it curtail future support for new programs authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.