Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Environment and Public Works hearing, “Issues for Surface Transportation Authorization.”

For more information or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.

A copy of Sen. Carper’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“I would like to welcome our witnesses to this important hearing. I am especially pleased that Fred Smith is here.

“Mr. Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of FedEx and Chairman of a group called the Energy Security Leadership Council. Given that FedEx delivers 8.5 million packages per day, Mr. Smith knows a thing or two about transportation. I am looking forward to hearing from Mr. Smith on his thoughts about the U.S. transportation system. I am also looking forward to hearing from Mr. Smith about the impact of America’s dependence on foreign oil.

“America’s dependence on foreign oil is a topic that I am very concerned about, and here is why:

“The United States consumes close to 19 million barrels of oil per day. Of that 19 million barrels, about 70 percent, or 13 million barrels, is consumed in transportation. Our planes, trains and automobiles consume nearly twice as much oil as is consumed by the entire economy of any other country. Let me say that again – The U.S. transportation system consumes nearly twice as much oil as is consumed by the entire economy of any other country.

“Today, every American is feeling the consequences of our dependence on foreign oil. The average price of regular, unleaded gas is now three dollars and eighty cents. The price has risen a full dollar per gallon since last year. We will likely see a national average of four dollars per gallon in the near future.

“These prices are hurting the household budgets of every American and the profitability of our businesses. They are also hurting economic recovery. Mark Zandi, an economist at Moody’s, recently said, ‘The surge in oil prices since the end of last year is already doing significant damage to the economy.’

“So this leads to an important question: Is our dependence on foreign oil good for the United States? I believe the answer is a resounding “NO”. It is bad for our economy and it is bad for our national security.

“The good news is that we are starting to head in the right direction. The Obama Administration has fast-tracked new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards to reach 36 miles per gallon by 2016 and is currently working on ambitious standards to extend to 2025. These standards have the potential to reduce U.S. oil consumption by 20 percent. While this is a significant improvement, we must go further.

“The decisions we make in this committee will have significant impact on our dependence on foreign oil. As this committee develops a new transportation bill, we have an opportunity to create a 21st century transportation system that consumes less foreign oil, not more.

“First, the transportation bill should establish a national goal for reducing oil consumption. These goals should be incorporated into the statewide planning process so that our local partners are working toward the same goal.

“Second, the transportation bill should more-effectively target congestion and offer transportation options that are less petroleum-intensive. Our dependence on foreign oil is not a Democratic or Republican issue and the solutions need not be political. Reducing foreign oil imports will improve our national security and strengthen the economy.

“I am looking forward to working with Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe to make sure the transportation bill takes us in the right direction.”