Obama: Wean autos off of oil

President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to authorize $200 million a year for research into clean energy technologies that can wean automobiles off oil.
AP Wire
Mar 15, 2013

Obama proposed the idea of an energy security trust last month in his State of the Union address, but he was putting a price tag on the idea during a trip Friday to the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago — $2 billion over 10 years. The White House said the research would be paid for with revenue from federal oil and gas leases on offshore drilling and would not add to the deficit.

The money would fund research on "breakthrough" technologies such as batteries for electric cars and biofuels made from switch grass or other materials. Researchers also would look to improve use of natural gas as a fuel for cars and trucks.

The proposal is modeled after a plan submitted by a group of business executives and former military leaders who are committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence. The group, called Securing America's Future Energy, is headed by FedEx Corp. Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith and retired Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley. The nonpartisan group says its goal is to "break oil's stranglehold on the transportation sector" through alternatives such as electric cars and heavy-duty trucks fueled by natural gas, but it had proposed a much larger $500 million annual investment.

Creation of the trust would require congressional approval at a time of partisan divide over energy issues. Obama tried to appeal to both parties by pitching the policy not just as an environmental issue but as a job-creation plan that would help the United States remain a technology leader.

"If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we," Obama said in his State of the Union address. "Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long."

There were signs agreement may be possible. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has called it "an idea I may agree with."

Murkowski, senior Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, did not fully endorse the plan, which is similar to one she has proposed to use revenue from drilling for oil and natural gas on public lands that previously were off-limits to energy production to pay for research on new energy technologies.

White House officials said the president's proposal would not require drilling on federal lands or water where it is now prohibited. Instead, they are counting on increased production from existing sites, along with efficiencies from an administration plan to streamline drilling permits. The government collects more than $6 billion a year in royalties from production on federal lands and waters.

Argonne is one of the Energy Department's largest national laboratories for scientific and engineering research, staffed by more than 1,250 scientists and engineers. White House officials said it was chosen as the site of the president's speech because of its tradition of research into vehicle technologies.

Comments

Wingmaster

Then may we use the Ford Econlanivan for the club mobile!

Lanivan

It's a hybrid...very energy efficient. You could put curtains up, put out some throw rugs and bean bag chairs in the back, hang a few pictures of Obama and Mitt during their debates, and use it for your clubhouse. I could be a fly on the wall....

Vladtheimp

Don't forget the Astroturf . . . .

Lanivan

wire it up for lava lamps....

Lanivan

Another quick thought re: energy efficiency and Team Dodo - For membership, prospective members would have to watch one of Carol's videos in it's entirety. If they possessed the mileage possible, they would gain automatic transmission and a free $20. gas card.....oops - too much like an Obama "handout". Make it a free card with a one time only fill-up of $15. There - that's more like it.

Wingmaster

Too much suspicious smoke in here..I wave the white flag and surrender until I need to seek treatment for Glaucoma which may be soon if I continue to read here!

Lanivan

Gah....cataracts plus glaucoma?...."Blinded by the Light", Bruce Springsteen.

Wingmaster

Manfred Mann's Earth Band much better version.

Lanivan

"You Know You're Right", Nirvana. At this rate, we just might get that summit in about 20 years.

Vladtheimp

Oh wow - thanks Lanivan! High Priest of the Club Doda is awesome - I didn't think anyone remembered her.

Lanivan

I always save the very highest honor for you and other regional treasures.....extinction knows no distinction.

Vladtheimp

Read again oh great one - Carol Doda!

Lanivan

You always provide great new resource material. The most disturbing thing about this gal is she is still performing as of 2009...

Vladtheimp

...extinction knows no distinction.

Lanivan

oohhhh...Clink!

whateveridonteven

Good Job Mr Obama!

michiglen

Wean politicians off money. Make them earn their position.

Sandypants

One word: Selendra. Mr. 40 car motorcade talks the talk alright. Fuel up Air Force One again! We goin' to Hawaii!!!!

Mystic Michael

How petty you are! How petty all you members of the Fox Snooze Peanut Gallery are!

What part of "He's the President" do you all still not get? Don't you have any sense of context and proportion at all?

MM

Sandypants

Poser. That's all he is. Period. How did the Kool-Aid Taste? Did it burn at first?

Mystic Michael

Oh. You're one of THOSE.

Never mind. Waste of time...

Sandypants

BTW-I don't watch much TV at all. The only thing I watch on FOX is Fringe. Just because he got elected doesn't mean that Skippy Obummer is the best man for the job. Are you a member of the CNN Snooze Peanut Gallery? Cryin' shame it is.

Sandypants

Forgot my signature moron michael.

SP

Mystic Michael

What a great proposal! Finally! Should have happened 40 years ago...as if the Arab Oil Embargo wasn't enough of a wake-up call?

Truth is, it might have happened long ago, but for the overwhelming power & influence of the oil corporation lobbyists - and the dozens of members of Congress they've bought - who are determined to maintain the dysfunctional status quo: keeping our country dependent upon foreign oil.

Well done, Mr. President. Although perhaps you should have accepted the the advisory group's recommendation for a $500 million investment instead.

Sandypants

Sure. Let's praise the dork in the awful office. Get a friggin' bicycle.

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