American families and small businesses across the country are feeling the pinch from rising gas prices. If you're trying to meet a family budget or a payroll, even a small change at the pump can have a big impact.
America's prosperity depends on reliable, affordable and secure sources of energy. And today our energy needs are growing faster than our domestic sources are able to provide. Demand for electricity has grown more than 17 percent in the past decade while our transmission ability lags behind. And we continue to import more than one-half of our domestic oil supply.
In the coming days and weeks, I'll talk more about what we need to do in Washington to make sure America has an energy policy that reflects the demands of a new century.
The first order of business is for Congress to pass an energy bill. Next week, Congress begins debate on energy legislation and they need to send me a bill that meets four important objectives: First, the energy bill must encourage the use of technology to improve conservation. We must find smarter ways to meet our energy needs, and we must encourage Americans to make better choices about energy consumption. We must also continue to invest in research, so we will develop the technologies that will allow us to conserve more and be better stewards of the environment.
Second, the energy bill must encourage more production at home in environmentally sensitive ways. Over the past three years, America's energy consumption has increased by about 4 percent while our domestic energy production has decreased by about 1 percent. That means more of our energy is coming from abroad. To meet our energy needs and strengthen our national security, we must make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
Third, the energy bill must diversify our energy supply by developing alternative sources of energy like ethanol or biodiesel. We need to promote safe, clean nuclear power. And to create more energy choices, Congress should provide tax credits for renewable power sources such as wind, solar and landfill gas.
We must also continue our clean coal technology projects so that we can use the plentiful source of coal in an environmentally friendly way.
The bill must also support pollution-free cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells instead of gasoline.
Finally, the energy bill must help us find better, more reliable ways to deliver energy to consumers. In some parts of the country, our transmission lines and pipelines are decades older than the homes and businesses they supply. Many of them are increasingly vulnerable to events that can interrupt and shut down power in entire regions of the country.
We must modernize our infrastructure to make America's energy more secure and reliable. Every source of power that we use today started with the power of human invention, and those sources have served us well for decades. Now it's time to apply our knowledge and technology to keep the American Dream alive in this new century.
There is nothing America cannot achieve when we put our mind to it. And I urge Congress to work out its differences and pass an energy bill that will help make America safer and more prosperous for the years to come.
Thank you for listening.