SNOW GAS PRICES
%tempByline.SentenceCase  /  AP
H. Furlong Baldwin, Chairman of the Board of NASDAQ, left, listens as Treasury Secretary John Snow, discusses the economy at the NASDAQ Technology Center, Monday, June 27, 2005, in Trumbull, Conn. Snow said there's little the government can do to offer immediate relief from record-high oil prices, but predicted the market will adapt and endorsed nuclear power as an alternative. He also made a pitch for President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security to include voluntary personal savings accounts. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
updated 7/5/2005 10:07:16 AM ET 2005-07-05T14:07:16

Treasury Secretary John Snow said there's little the government can do to offer immediate relief from record-high oil prices, but predicted the market will adapt and endorsed nuclear power as an alternative.

"Unfortunately, there's very little that can be done in the short run to dramatically affect the price of oil," said Snow, speaking Monday at the NASDAQ Technology Center in Trumbull.

Snow said the high oil prices are already affecting demand and consumers have begun buying smaller vehicles. He predicted that higher prices will prompt consumers to cut back on travel and will encourage producers of alternative energy.

"We're going to see, I think, at $60 a barrel, a lot of adaptations in the marketplace," Snow said. "I also think that at these prices, we're going to see supply-side adjustments."

Crude oil prices closed Monday at $60.54 a barrel, up 70 cents from Friday's close. It marked the first time oil closed at higher than $60.

Snow also promoted President Bush's proposals for a national energy bill. The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would promote conservation and environmentally friendly fuels, but avoids Bush's call for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska or a provision to give the makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection from environmental lawsuits. The House passed a bill in April that is more favorable to oil and gas producers.

"I think we're going to have to make a much bigger commitment to nuclear," he said.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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