Bush calls for more biodiesel, clean engines

| Wednesday, January 24, 2007

In the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, President George W. Bush called for more widespread use of biodiesel and ethanol, and for more clean-diesel vehicles in a policy that includes reduced dependency on foreign oil.

Bush said the nation should reduce its dependency on foreign oil and help curb global climate change.

"To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 - and that is nearly five times the current target," Bush said.

The national goal set in 2005 was for 7.5 billion gallons of alternative fuels produced by 2012.

Part of a decreased dependency on foreign oil means asking the nation to reduce its consumption of gasoline by 20 percent based on projected consumption over the next 10 years, Bush said. That amounts to a reduction of up to 8.5 billion gallons of gasoline by 2017.

"When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East ," Bush said.

The call for more alternative fuel supplies pleased the National Biodiesel Board.

"We are glad to see that the President's Twenty in Ten plan includes strong steps toward renewable energy, energy conservation and diversification, and carbon reduction," National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe said in a reaction statement. "We hope Congress will work with the administration in a bipartisan way to enact this kind of bold new energy policy for the good of all Americans."

Part of the president's goal is to encourage technological advances in hybrid vehicles and clean diesel vehicles.

"Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it's not going to eliminate it," Bush said.

The president asked members of the U.S. House and Senate to allow the doubling of the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by tapping more domestic oil supplies.

Bush asked the Democratic majority in the House and Senate for a commitment to his energy policy.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-VA, addressed the ideas of reduced dependency on foreign oil in the official Democratic response to the president's speech.

"We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs," Webb said, "We look forward to working with the President and his party to bring about these changes."

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