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Bush Says US Needs Increased Oil Refining Capacity

President Bush says the United States needs to increase its oil refining capacity after two Gulf of Mexico hurricanes tightened gasoline supplies.

Following a briefing by the Energy Department, the president said Hurricanes Rita and Katrina exposed the fragility of the balance between oil supply and demand in the nation.

The president said he was willing to use the national Strategic Petroleum Reserve to meet immediate fuel needs and he urged citizens to conserve fuel by curtailing nonessential trips and conserving electricity during peak hours.

The president said many pipelines and refineries should be back to full capacity by next week, but officials are still assessing the damage at several key sites.

Oil prices fell today to about $64 a barrel on reports of limited hurricane damage to industry facilities.