This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 26, 2005, that was edited for clarity.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're taking action to help deal with the shortfall caused by Katrina and Rita.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Will Hurricane Rita (search) bring new pain for you at the pumps? Cities like Atlanta and Dallas, which rely very heavily on gas from the Gulf, saw prices jump 10 cents since last week. In a press conference this morning, the president says he will tap our emergency reserve, if he has to.

Joining us now from Washington, the U.S. Energy Secretary of these United States, Sam Bodman.

Secretary, thank you for coming.

SAMUEL BODMAN, ENERGY SECRETARY: Neil, I'm happy to be here.

CAVUTO: Do you think that oil prices are unrealistically high or about where they should be?

BODMAN: I can't speculate on oil prices. It's not something I'm going to opine on.

The president was here this morning, as you reported. We briefed him on the situation in the Gulf. The president subsequently announced that he intended to see SPRO, or the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to remain open. We're going to do everything we can to supply materials to the market and such that we can get these refineries up and going.

But that's the role we play. And it's not one of trying to manage prices.

CAVUTO: But do you think, Secretary, that fear has built in this huge premium to prices?

BODMAN: Well, when you have a free market, people will behave in ways that are very human.

And, so, sometimes, you get fear. Sometimes, you get the reverse of fear. You'll get relaxation. So, that's why it's very hard to form a judgment for one individual to do so. And that's why I try to avoid, in this job, trying to speculate on what prices are, what is causing prices to either go up or go down.

CAVUTO: But, you know, there are many in this country, sir, who argue, there must be sort of a cabal going on among the energy companies, or that they can understand supply and demand. I don't agree with this view of coordinated gouging.

BODMAN: Right.

CAVUTO: But that is out there. Do you buy that?


The oil companies, in my judgment, have behaved very responsibly. They have done everything they can do to make product available. They have been dealing with some of the greatest natural disasters ever confronting our country, let alone this industry. And I think they have performed well. They have done well. The president believes that.

And so, I'm comfortable that they are behaving generally in a very responsible way.

CAVUTO: Could I raise this with you, Secretary? Jack Welch was on with me during the weekend with our Rita coverage. And he said, you know, we got to do a lot more, just as you want to do, sir, explore oil in other areas. But we have also got to tax the hell out of gas-guzzling vehicles. In other words, we got to do it all. We got to watch the conservation area. We have got to look for oil elsewhere.

What do you make of that, going after gas-guzzling vehicles?

BODMAN: Well, our job, it seems to me, is to try to develop ways of making a broader array of fuels available, be they the renewable fuels or nuclear energy, whatever it is. That was really part of what the energy bill was about. And that's why we're very pleased with it, because it supports a broad range, a broad portfolio of energy sources.

And that's the direction I believe that the country should be moving in. That's the direction that the Congress has voted on, the president signed. And so, our job is to implement it.

CAVUTO: Secretary, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

BODMAN: You bet, sir.

CAVUTO: Sam Bodman, the energy secretary of these United States.

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