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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Bush seeks to ease US oil needs
US President George Bush
Will Bush be driving a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle around his ranch?
President George W Bush unveiled a five-part energy plan on Wednesday designed to reduce the US's dependence on fossil fuels, such as oil.

He was speaking to a Small Business Administration conference in Washington and outlined incentives for consumers to use green cars.

Over 10 years $2.5bn (1.3bn) in grants will be made available for citizens to buy hydrogen fuel cell cars, he said.

He also mooted the idea of building new nuclear power stations.

Power lines

"The problem is clear. This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight," said the president.

We need to get on a path away from fossil fuel
President George W Bush

He suggested that new oil refineries could be located at closed military bases.

Mr Bush said he would urge Congress to pass his four-year-old energy proposals. He wants it to streamline power-station approval processes.

He also mentioned new technologies such as superconducting power lines. "It's time for America to build a modern electricity grid," he said.

He pointed out that the demand for energy is growing faster than the supply and backed increased ethanol use (a liquid form of energy that can come from sustainable sources), use of clean coal technology and faster reviews of natural gas projects.

The US would help developing nations make use of cleaner fuel technologies too, he promised.

Cleaner fuel

"We need to find a practical way to help these countries take advantage of cleaner fuel technologies," he said. For example, he pointed out that India could use clean coal technologies.

Although Mr Bush mentioned that his plans would benefit the environment, he seemed motivated by a desire to reduce America's dependence on oil from undemocratic nations.

"We should have done this years ago... for the sake of a growing economy... for the sake of national security... we've got to expand our independence," he said.

"We need to get on a path away from fossil fuel."

Mr Bush's energy proposals, made in 2001, have been stalled in the Senate due to Democrats' objections over a measure allowing drilling in Alaska's wildlife reserve and some of the tax incentives for producers added by congressional Republicans.

US oil prices fell following Mr Bush's speech as he showed his determination for the US to become less dependent on oil.

Analysts said they were surprised to hear some of these initiatives coming out of the US.

But they pointed out that President Bush had not done much to address the demand side of the equation by trying to encourage Americans to consume less power.

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