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State of the Union, “Great Words” – Let’s Check the Record

By Peter Lynch
Exclusively for
January 24, 2007

The hype about how the President was going to “promote” renewable energy was all over the street the past few days. Everyone was excited and this time, I actually think something will get done about it. But NOT because of what the President “said”, but because of what the new congress is going to “do”.

There is a great difference between what someone “says” and what they actually end up “doing”. The other interesting thing is that in this modern internet world one can actually go back (easily) and see what someone actually said and then see what they did.

So let us go back and see what Mr. Bush said in past years and what actually happened.

2002 State of the Union

“Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.”

What Happened: Oil imports increased and the average price of a gallon of gasoline went from $1.31 in January 2000 to $2.38 in January of 2007.

2003 State of the Union

“Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment.”

What happened: Oil imports increased again and America's annual consumption of gasoline went from 8.47 million barrels per day in 2000 to 9.125 million of barrels per day in 2005.

2004 State of the Union

“Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.”

What Happened: the price of oil exploded upward and the situation in the mid-east just kept getting worse making our key supplies of oil more and more unreliable.

2005 State of the Union

“To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy.”

“What Happened: the average price of home heating oil went from $1.15/gallon in January of 2000 to $2.42/gallon in January of 2007.

2006 State of the Union

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.”

What Happened: Energy got far more expensive and Exxon Mobil’s profits went from $7.9 billion in 2000 to $36.1 billion in 2006.


Well, those are the WORDS and those are the ACTIONS. I really points out to me that once again the old saying rings true: “Talk is cheap”. Anyone can talk but only a true leader will actually do what they say and move forward, not stand still and skillfully craft more “words”.

I sincerely hope that the new congress is not just a group of people with new “words”; I hope they are a new generation of leaders that will speak their “words” and follow up with the actions they promise. The time for “words” has passed; this is a time for action.

We need major new investments (billions of dollars, NOT millions) in all areas of renewables and conservation and we need new much higher automobile mileage standards. We all need to recognize that energy is a very serious problem and move forward to solve it – with or without help from Washington.

In addition, we all need to MAKE SURE that the next President is a man or woman of ACTION and not of more and more and more “words”.

I am afraid that our future and that of our children depend upon it.

J. Peter Lynch has worked, for 30 years as a Wall Street analyst, an independent equity analyst and private investor, and a merchant banker in small emerging technology companies. He has been actively involved in following developments in the renewable energy sector since 1977and is regarded as an expert in this area. He is currently a financial and technology consultant to a number of companies. He can be reached via e-mail at

Peter Lynch is an independent columnist for this web site and may hold long or short positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article and those positions can change at any moment. Disclaimer:, InvestorIdeas is not directly affiliated or compensated by the companies mentioned in this article. Nothing in the articles should be construed as an offer or solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell any specific products or securities. Past performance does not guarantee future results.


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