RIO RANCHO (New Mexico), Feb 4 (AFP): US President George W. Bush insisted yesterday that the United States could sharply decrease its dependency on oil from the politically volatile Middle East.
"With research, and development and technology," the United States "can become less dependent on unstable sources of energy overseas," Bush said in the New Mexico town of Rio Rancho, reacting to skeptical comments about a proposal he made earlier in the week.
In his State of the Union speech, Bush set a goal of reducing US imports of Middle East oil by 75 per cent by 2025.
"If we want to be the leader in the world, we've got to do that," the president said during a visit to a factory owned by semiconductor giant Intel Corp. "It's a goal that can be achieved, it's a goal that is necessary."
In his State of the Union speech, Bush said that "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." He added: "the best way to break this addiction is through technology."
However, most of the oil imported into the United States comes from outside the Middle East. Only one country in the region-Saudi Arabia-figures among the country's top five petroleum suppliers, which together account for 67 per cent of US oil imports.
In 2004 the United States imported 58 per cent of its oil needs-up from 37 per cent in 1980 -- with about 28 arriving from various countries in the Middle East.