George Bush: does the left tongue know what the right tongue's saying on oil conservation?

Saturday, April 01, 2006 at 03:33 PM

Our esteemed president caused quite a stir in his State of the Union speech by calling the country "addicted to oil," and announcing efforts to increase research geared to reducing the nation's oil needs to operate our vehicles.

WTW has already discussed the contradiction between that speech and the budget cuts that forced staff layoffs at the government's primary renewable energy research center.  Now it turns out that the government has been actively fighting a federal law mandating use of alternative fuel vehicles as a conservation measure.

Seems a Federal District Court Judge recently ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to comply with the Energy Policy Act of 1992's requirements for the purchase of alternative fuels vehicles ("AFV"s), which the DOE has been actively resisting on the ground that petroleum reduction goals mandated by the Act are "unachievable."  That claim was rejected earlier in March, and on March 30, the court denied a government request for an additional 3 to 4 years of delay, and ordered DOE to begin complying wit the Act.  DOE has to revise the long-overdue petroleum reduction goal to an achievable number within one year, and in the following year must determine whether the AFV purchase rules must apply to private and municipal vehicle fleets, potentially requiring the purchase of tens of thousands of additional AFVs.

Can you imagine the gall required to make alternative fuels a centerpiece of the State of the Union while at the same time fighting to delay the use of those fuels for years?  Not to mention having cut the budget of the facility most likely to produce the scientific advances required to maximize the use of alternatives.

Just the kind of honesty, sincerity, and competence that we've sadly come to expect from the worst administration in memory.  It's at the point where the Bushster's incompetence should be treated as the norm, rather than news.

Then again, the NHTSA did announce new fuel standards for trucks, SUV's and the like. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis of NHTSA plan, we'll save less than two weeks of gasoline each year over the next two decades, prompting Don MacKenzie, an engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, to remark that ""Fighting America's oil addiction with these standards is like fighting lung cancer by smoking 49 cigarettes a day instead of 50."