Following is a transcript of President Carter's opening statement at yesterday's news conference :
No matter how Americans may differ on energy, we are united on two basic goals - first, to provide every possible means to alleviate the current crisis at all levels of government and in the private sector of our economy; and, second, to get this country firmly on the way toward more lasting solutions for the energy question and to keep it there.
First things first: Today, by executive order, I am delegating to all the nation's governors the authority to help manage our gasoline supplies over the summer. Using these powers, which I have authority to delegate, the governors will be able to require that at least some gasoline stations remain open on weekends, to establish minimum purchase requirements, to prevent tank topping which can convert a scarce surplus into spot shortages, and to impose an odd-even day sales system to reduce crowding and confusion by enabling drivers to buy gasoline on alternate days according to their license plate numbers.
Some of this authority already exists in some of the states, but this action will assure that all governors throughout the nation have help in managing the kind of situtation that existed this month in Nevada, California and some other places in our country.
These steps will simply make it more convenient for drivers to purchase gasoline, but they do not save oil or gasoline.
While some increased supply and better management may minimize inconvenience, continued care, planning and conservation will be required throughout the summer if we are to avoid gasoline lines and spot shortages.
As I have said so often, our country faces a long-term chronic problem in obtaining adequate energy supplies to meet our needs. We have not yet addressed this basic problem. Until we put in place policies that will cut back demand, reduce waste, ensure maximum production of oil here at home and develop alternate supplies of energy, alternates to oil, we will have to continue to live with the prospect of shortages.
It is necessary to stop aggravating the problem by blaming one another and be seeking out scapegoats. The fact is that the oil-producing countries are holding down supply while the rest of the world has increased demand. Our current difficulties have been made more severe by the stoppage of Iranian production this winter. Over 200 million barrels of oil which the world expected to have was simply not produced.
To meet demand over the winter and the spring, we had to draw down on our own supplies and also our own reserves, and reserve supplies of crude oil now are at very low levels. Since it takes 60 to 90 days for oil to be moved from a country like Iran across the ocean to our ports to be refined, and then distributed, we are still feeling the loss of oil from that country even through Iran is producing oil again.
We now expect to see mild increase in oil supply which should help to alleviate our present spot shortages. But in spite of this improvement, we will at best only have - at best we will only have about the same amount of oil during the summer that we had a year ago.
In the meantime, Americans are expecting to use more than we had a year ago. Unless we are able to plan carefully and to conserve properly, spot shortages may exist.
As this Memorial Day has indicated, Americans are able to conserve energy if they are determined to do so. For example, Charles Warren, my special representative in California, reports that the use of trains and rapid transit in California was way up.
But I believe this country is capable of doing much more than just getting the summer. Phased decontrol will begin June 1st to reduce our subsidy of imported oil and to increase domestic production of oil.
I have also proposed a windfall profits tax to capture, for public benefit, a substantial portion of the increased prices of oil resulting from decontrol and I proposed an Energy Security Fund to protect those who are least able to afford the rapidly increasing cost of energy, to improve mass transportation systems in our courntry, and to bring the full force of American science and technology to bear on this crucial problem.
These proposals, while not universally popular, are essential to get this country moving firmly on the way to a more lasting solution for our energy problem.
I hope that I can have the support of the Congress and the American people for these energy proposals.