US President George W Bush on Tuesday urged Congress to pass legislation to help restrain rising fuel costs, in part by allowing oil exploration in an Alaskan wildlife refuge and building new refineries, reported to the dpa .
"One of the main reasons for high gas prices is that global oil production is not keeping up with growing demand. Members of Congress have been vocal about foreign governments increasing their oil production, yet Congress has been just as vocal in opposition to efforts to expand our production here at home," Bush told reporters at the White House.
Bush urged Congress to consider legislation to allow oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, as an intermediate step to reduce prices before new green technologies can push down demand for petrol and lower energy prices.
Congress has been grappling with the ANWR issue for years under pressure from oil firms to open up the land for oil exploration of its estimated 5 to 16 billion barrels of oil. Environmentalists argue the drilling would only provide a tiny fraction of US oil needs, and want efforts to focus instead on reducing consumption. Bush has backed ANWR drilling since taking office in 2001.
Bush also urged the building of more nuclear power plants and oil refineries.
He said the reluctance to do so sends mixed signals about the US desire to lower energy prices.
Record petrol prices have further burdened the American public amid declining home values and rising food prices.