March 31, 2011

Obama touts electric cars

Obama touts electric cars, clean energy standard

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2011 — The nation’s dependence on imported oil was the theme of President Barack Obama’s energy speech at Georgetown University March 30.

Obama spelled out three ways to increase energy independence in the transportation sector: by using vehicles fueled by natural gas, biofuels or more efficient traditional engines.

However Obama said electric vehicles would be the best fix. Obama set a goal of deploying one million electric vehicles by 2015. During his presidency, the Department of Energy has created incentives for American companies to develop the vehicles as well as for Americans who buy them.

“There are few breakthroughs as promising for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing our dependence on oil as electric vehicles,” Obama said.

Furthermore, the president called for the federal government to “lead by example,” adding that he has directed the every vehicle used by the government to be upgraded to alternative fuel, hybrid or electric systems by 2015.

The factor keeping electric vehicles from truly taking off, he said, is the size, weight and efficiency of the batteries themselves. Obama said his administration has invested about $2 billion in grants for companies to develop better batteries and kick-start the American electric vehicle industry.

“Soon, America will be home to 40 percent of global manufacturing capacity for these batteries. And that means jobs. But to make sure we stay on the road to this goal, we need to do more — by offering more powerful incentives to consumers, and by rewarding the communities that pave the way for adoption of these vehicles,” he said.

Obama said it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner like Energy Secretary Steven Chu to tell you that electric vehicles run on electricity. So, he said, electricity should be generated in a safer, cleaner way.

“Even if we reduce our oil dependency, a smart, comprehensive energy policy requires that we change the way we generate electricity in America,” he said.

A centerpiece of the speech was a call for a “clean energy standard,” which would be a modified renewable portfolio standard that allows for renewables as well as natural gas, cleaner coal and nuclear power.

“Just like the fuels we use, we also have to find cleaner, renewable sources of electricity. Today, about two-fifths of our electricity comes from clean energy sources. But I know that we can do better than that,” Obama said. “In fact, I think that with the right incentives in place, we can double it.”

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