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'US must stop gas guzzling'

Filed on February 3, 2006

LONDON — The United States must put more energy efficient cars on the highway and raise taxes on gasoline if it wants to kick its addiction to oil from the volatile Middle East, analysts said yesterday.

President George W. Bush mentioned neither energy efficiency nor tax in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, when he said “America is addicted to oil” from the Middle East and needs to slash imports from there by more than 75 per cent by 2025.

A cut in imports of that magnitude would require a major change of tack from the world’s largest energy consumer, now on course to increase rather than decrease dependency on the Middle East, home to 60 per cent of the world’s oil reserves.

“It’s a question of reducing one’s economic vulnerability to a particular source of energy,” said William Ramsay, Deputy Executive Director at the IEA, adviser on energy to 26 industrialised nations.

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