Critics say Chavez's campaign is mostly rhetoric because the Venezuela government subsidizes fuel to the point consumer gasoline prices are 12 cents a gallon. He has however, said he plans to raise gasoline prices to encourage people to drive less and use public transportation.
While he wants to explore more uses for cleaner-burning natural gas, some environmentalists warn that Chavez's plan to build a South American natural gas pipeline across Brazil to Argentina could be an ecological disaster.
Venezuela is a country of 26 million people and is about twice the size of California. The country is the fourth-largest oil supplier to the U.S.