John F. Kerry photo

Radio Address to the Nation

May 22, 2004

Good morning, this is John Kerry.

Many of you are listening to this address while riding in your car. Some of you might be on your way to pick up your son or daughter from Little League. Others might be driving to the grocery store. You might be stuck in traffic on your way to the mall. And for many, you're pulling out of the gas station after filling up the tank.

How much did it cost you and your family this week? $30 or $40? Too many Americans filled up their cars and trucks this week and saw that for the first time the average price of a gallon of gas has climbed above $2.00. With Memorial Day weekend a few days away and nearly 30 million Americans expected to travel in their cars, families have to find more and more extra money in their budgets to pay for gas.

There are two reasons why we cannot be asleep at the wheel during this current energy crisis. First soaring energy prices are putting our economy at risk and second, our dependence on Middle East oil is putting our national security at risk.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

In the short-term, we can lower energy costs, help working families, and provide relief to our farmers who will spend an additional $1.3 billion on gas this year; to our truck drivers who will spend an additional $6 billion; and provide relief to our airlines that will spend an additional $7 billion on jet fuel. And in the long-term, we can have an energy plan that makes America independent of Middle East oil and strengthens our national security.

We can live in an America that is energy independent. We can live in an America that runs on the cars of the future that we only have to fill up once a month, not every week. We can live in an America that invests in new technology that will make us energy independent and provide good paying jobs for every American.

We can do this with a president who leads. America's can-do spirit invented the cars we drive and built the roads and bridges we use every day. Our imagination and sense of discovery took us to the moon. And our determination and perseverance helped us conquer diseases like polio.

When America sees a problem or a great possibility, it is in our collective character to set our sights on the horizon and not stop working until we get there. That's what America does best – and now we need to let America be America again so we can meet this energy challenge. Our dependence on foreign oil is a problem we must solve together the only way we can: by inventing our way out of it.

For decades, we have been stuck on a never-ending energy crisis rollercoaster. Gas prices rise and people talk about the need for a new energy policy. When gas prices drop, people drop the issue. If unrest erupts in the Middle East, people talk about the need to be independent of foreign oil. When prices drop and stability returns, we turn to another topic. It is time to get off this ride and chart a new course to energy independence.

But in the short-term, we have to help our families and business with these high energy costs. First, we should go to the Saudi government and other OPEC nations and demand that they increase supply. And second, we should divert oil that's being used to fill our reserves and bring it to the market to bring down prices. But short-term steps are just stopgaps unless we have a long-term plan.

I have a plan to invest in new technologies and alternative fuels to make America energy independent of Middle East oil. As president, I will establish tax credits that help consumers buy and manufacturers build fuel efficient cars. America is America when we lead the world to new inventions and technologies. And I believe America can and should be the place that builds the cars and creates the jobs of the future.

A strong America begins at home – with energy independence from the Middle East. Let's ensure that no young American soldier has to fight and die because of our dependence on foreign oil. This is the great project for our generation.

Next week is Memorial Day weekend – a time to honor Americans who served their country and a time to spend with our families. This year is going to be different.

We're at war and families are struggling to make ends meet, especially with rising gas prices. For our security, our economy, and our environment, we must make America energy independent. Together, let's do it.

I'm John Kerry. Thank you for listening.

John F. Kerry, Radio Address to the Nation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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