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OPEC Digs In. Administration Backs Off.

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Well, that was certainly short lived.

Bush said that we needed to cut our addiction to oil in the SOTU speech, OPEC complained yesterday and today we have the Administration saying, “Well, what we really meant was…”

From Knight Ridder:

WASHINGTON – One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally.

Didn’t mean it literally? Umm, I find that extremely hard to believe. I guess I’d like to know exactly what he meant figuratively then…

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that’s where the greatest oil supplies are.

Wait, don’t we import the most oil from Canada? Why yes…we do.

Hmm, so Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman…was Bush’s talk of the Middle East purely an example?

“This was purely an example,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.

Asked why the president used the words “the Middle East” when he didn’t really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that “every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.” The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble.

Ah-ha…so he wanted it to appear that he was being tough on Islamic nations when he was really being anything but since plans that stretch out till 2025 could easily be changed at a moment’s notice, Got it.

But still, this does means we’ll be importing less oil, right?

“In 2025, net petroleum imports, including both crude oil and refined products, are expected to account for 60 percent of demand … up from 58 percent in 2004,” according to the Energy Information Administration’s 2006 Annual Energy Outlook.

Three words people: coal to gas.