Washington: US President Barack Obama on Friday said the increasing demand of oil in countries like India and China is leading to the rise in oil prices.
    
"For decades, we've left our economy vulnerable to increases in the price of oil. And with the demand for oil going up in countries like China and India, the problem is only getting worse," Obama said in his speech on fuel efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks location.
    
"The demand for oil is inexorably rising, far faster than supply. And that means prices will keep going up unless we do something about our own dependence on oil. That's the reality," he said.
    
However, he added that there is no quick fix to the problem. "There's no silver bullet here. But there are steps we can take now that will help us become more energy independent."
    
"So I've laid out an energy strategy that would do that. In the short term, we need to increase safe and responsible oil production here at home to meet our current energy needs. And even those who are proponents of shifting away from fossil fuels have to acknowledge that we're not going to suddenly replace oil throughout the economy. We're going to need to produce all the oil we can," he said.
    
He added, "While we're at it, we need to get rid of, I think, the USD 4 billion in subsidies we provide the oil and gas companies every year at a time when they're earning near-record profits and put that money toward clean energy research, which would really make a big difference."
    
Obama further stated that in the long run they'll "have to harness the potential of startups and clean energy companies across America."
    
"We've set an aggressive target, and the companies here are stepping up to the plate. By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double, to almost 55 miles per gallon," Obama said.
    
"It means filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week. It will save a typical family more than USD 8,000 in fuel costs over time. And consumers in this country as a whole will save almost USD 2 trillion in fuel costs. That's trillion with a T," Obama said.

US in talks with India over oil payment to Iran
    
Meanwhile, the US is in talks with India over the issue of payment of billions of dollars in oil bills to Iran by New Delhi without being affected by American sanctions, a top State Department official has said.
    
"We are working with the Indians to resolve the situation. There are, we believe, options available that will help them do that that would not trigger sanctions," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Friday.
     
"But beyond that, I can't really comment," he said replying to a question about India planning to pay billions of dollars to Iran in unpaid crude oil purchases through Turkey.   
"I'm just saying we're discussing options with India that will help resolve it," he said.
    
Iran is India's second biggest supplier for crude after Saudi Arabia, exporting about 400,000 barrels per day or 12 of the country's needs in trade worth some USD 12 billion a year.
    
In July last year, the US imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran aimed at scuttling its oil and gas industries. It placed prohibitive restrictions on banking and foreign exchange transactions with Iranian banks and other financial institutions.

(Agencies)