Hi, I'm Bill Nelson, a senator from Florida.
I know that many of you are anxious right now with $3 gasoline and with crude oil selling for $72 a barrel.
Meanwhile, oil company profits are soaring to unimaginable levels. And Americans are frustrated, and sick and tired of billion-dollar giveaways to the oil companies, while the price of gas goes through the roof.
It was 30 years ago that people waited in long gas lines, and the president then declared we would have energy independence.
Well, last month, Brazil-not the United States-announced it would achieve energy independence this year, a goal U.S. leaders have sought since the first oil crisis of the 1970s. In Brazil, drivers are filling up their cars with ethanol, instead of gasoline.
And today in America, President Bush says, "We have a serious problem. America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."
But his words are not backed up with the tough policy changes needed to make a real difference.
The administration's emphasis is on drilling, a strategy many experts say won't make a dent in the U.S. oil problem.
Let's face it. We, in America, have only three percent of the world's oil reserves and yet we are consuming twenty-five percent of the world's oil production. We cannot drill our way out of this problem.
We must take more dramatic steps, including conservation.
First, we must confront some powerful interests, including the oil lobby.
Sixty percent of the oil we use is from foreign countries. So more hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels such as ethanol made from cost-effective crops would make a huge difference - and, relatively quickly.
We have the technology to raise the mileage standard for all passenger vehicles to at least 40 miles per gallon. The president has urged only a modest 2 miles-per-gallon increase for light trucks.
We should produce synthetic fuel from coal, with attention to global warming concerns.
We should set a course of developing an engine that is powered by a new source of energy such as hydrogen, which will also be less polluting.
With the world's oil market being tightly stretched, with new demands from China and India, it's clear that the slightest disruption in supplies could wreak economic havoc.
Friends, the oil crisis is coming.
It may be that a terrorist sinks a super tanker in the Persian Gulf blocking oil from an oil thirsty world; or,
It may be a foreign country, such as Venezuela, refuses to sell us oil as President Chavez has threatened to do. Right now, he supplies us with 12 percent of the oil we consume daily; or,
It may be a mega-hurricane that goes right up Galveston Bay and shuts down the refineries in Houston.
Whatever the cause, the crisis is coming! And so America must act now, before soaring prices and a dependence on foreign oil puts a chokehold on our economy and military.
This is Sen. Bill Nelson from Florida. Thank you for considering these sobering thoughts