Two weeks ago President Bush strolled into the White House Rose Garden and announced that he was taking action to reduce gasoline use by 20% over 10 years. Sounds great right.
Only thing is, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. First off, when you examine the actual words of what he said it’s really ambiguous as to what he has committed to do regarding reducing gasoline use. He’s really made no commitment to do anything more than study the issue further and what he has proposed is patently deceptive in that overall fuel use by cars and trucks will continue to go up.
One huge problem is that while reducing something 20% sounds great it is misleading and meant to deceive the public. It is a cover for doing very little in 10 years The goal he’s talking about is not a 20% reduction in fuel use, it’s specifically a 20% reduction in “gasoline use”. And three quarters of the 20% “reducing vehicle gasoline use” is actually a fuel shift to alternative fuels like ethanol and other biofuels.
The truth is Bush is only proposing a 5% reduction in gasoline use over 10 years and a 15% shift in use of gasoline to alternative fuels over this 10 year period. While this will have some impact in reducing dependence on foreign oil, the overall impact on reducing global warming is unclear. While shifting to some alternative fuels will reduce global warming gases, a shift to others would actually increase overall global warming gases produced.
The problem remains that all of this is hypothetical – Bush is asking for more study to produce recommendations before he leaves office next year. His answer to global warming is just like his answer to the Iraq War – leave it to the next President.
California has asked for a waiver to increase fuel efficiency standards. Bush’s study proposal is in fact a way for Bush to avoid acting on this waiver before he leaves office. It’s obvious he has no intent to seriously address global warming issues or make any serious attempt to actually significantly reduce our consumption of fuel and oil. The truth is he has the power to act now to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. But he’s not going to. He’s not going to do antything to hurt his business friends in the oil industry from continuing to make record profits.
Its really up to Congress to act because Bush has not committed himself to do much of anything. Bush is just playing word games trying to pull another fast one on the public.