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Bono Expresses Concern for Rising Gas Prices

Location: Washington, DC

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2004

Bono Expresses Concern for Rising Gas Prices

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Congresswoman Mary Bono (CA-45) expressed her concerns today on rising gas prices to the Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham. Secretary Abraham testified on 2005 budget priorities for the Department of Energy (DOE) in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, a committee in which Congresswoman Bono is a member. Congresswoman Bono offered the following opening statement:

"Californians are hurting. We are paying more at the pump than any other state. While I understand that issues like the oxygenate waiver and state regulations add to the burden, it still seems as if our costs are still higher than the national average.
Yesterday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut production by 4 percent. I certainly appreciate your statement of disappointment and am pleased that the Administration is working on this issue with all due diligence. Still, I fear what this cut in production can further do to exacerbate the situation.

Another concern of mine has to do with refining capacity, specifically in California. Although over the last three weeks, the average pump price in California has fallen 3.3 cents a gallon, we are going into a sixth straight week of more than $2 a gallon at the pump. Limited refining capacity is certainly a factor in this and I would appreciate hearing (the DOE's) comments on this matter.

Another fact we must face is that we also need to do more at home on developing and opting for alternative fueled vehicles. Americans love their SUVs and gasoline powered cars, so we also need to be working on reducing our dependence on foreign oil by moving towards other fuel supplies. The President has certainly made an effort to lead the way with his FreedomCAR proposal and I look forward to working with the Administration on this and any other efforts related to this cause.

As far as budget priorities are concerned, I would like to encourage the Department to support the Renewable Energy Production Incentive. This is an initiative that not only needs to be reauthorized, a provision of which is in the stalled energy bill, but also needs adequate funding to make it a viable program."

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