October 4, 1983

The U.S. energy situation today is significantly better than it was in 1981 when my administration took office.

Total energy efficiency has increased, domestic energy resources are being developed more effectively, oil prices have declined, U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources has diminished, and the Nation's vulnerability to energy supply disruptions has been reduced markedly, especially through additions to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and through lower levels of oil imports. Only about one-fourth of our oil consumption this year is from imports, and less than half of that from OPEC. The real price of imported oil to the U.S. has fallen almost 40 percent.

A key factor contributing to today's improved U.S. energy situation is the implementation of a national energy policy first described in my 1981 National Energy Policy Plan. This policy includes a goal, strategies for pursuing that goal, and Federal programs and action determined by those strategies.

A hallmark of our national energy policy is to foster an adequate supply of energy at reasonable costs, minimize Federal control and involvement in energy markets, and promote a balanced and mixed energy resource system.

I am proud of the actions we have taken since 1981 which have led to substantial progress and a reinvigorated national energy system.

We have removed price and allocation controls on crude oil and petroleum products. This has resulted in increased production of domestic resources and lower gasoline prices to consumers. Real gasoline prices are about 15 percent below pre-decontrol levels.

Since the end of 1980, the amount of oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has tripled, to more than 360 million barrels today. It now holds about 90 days of our average net oil imports and well over a year of our Arab OPEC imports. Together with private petroleum stockpiles, the SPR is an important part of our program for improving international energy security. It can be an invaluable form of insurance against the potentially severe effects of an oil supply interruption.

The world energy scene remains volatile. Even though we now produce about 90 percent as much energy as we consume, we need to press onward with improvements. The National Energy Policy Plan we transmit to Congress today discusses all of our plans and accomplishments, but it emphasizes the need to finish the task of decontrolling natural gas. Today the regulatory system has led to higher prices and lower supplies. Today we have unused capacity that natural gas control is restricting. That capacity could lower prices, reduce oil imports, and set us on a sensible course for the future. I will be working closely with the Senate and House in the weeks ahead to pass sensible natural gas legislation to allow the market to work.

We can face the energy future with confidence, not complacency. We must all continue to use energy prudently and to improve our technology for finding and conserving energy. With the leadership of Secretary Hodel in the Energy Department, and under the guidance of the National Energy Policy Plan, we will continue to improve our energy situation through the efforts and genius of the American people.

Note: The plan is entitled ``The National Energy Policy Plan, October 1983 -- A Report to the Congress Required by Title VIII of the Department of Energy Organization Act (Public Law 95 - 91) -- U.S. Department of Energy'' (Government Printing Office, 25 pages).