Friday, January 18, 2008

PART 5 - Barack Obama's Energy Plan: Strengthen Our Oil Securuty and Energy Independence

This is the 5th part of a 6 part series. To review the beginning part of this series, please scroll down to Part 1 and work your way up. Thanks! S

Not since the 1970s has America’s national security been so threatened by its energy insecurity, and, as we have learned the hard way over the past seven years, achieving energy security in the 21st century requires far more than simply expending our economic and political resources to keep oil flowing steadily out of unstable and even hostile countries and regions.

Rather, energy security requires stemming the flow of money to oil rich regimes that are hostile to America and its allies; it requires combating climate change and preparing for its impacts both at home and abroad; it requires making international energy markets work for us and not against us; it requires standing up to the oil companies that spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and political contributions; it requires that we address nuclear safety, waste, and proliferation challenges around the world; and more.

Obama will halt this dangerous trend, and take the necessary steps to achieving energy independence. Obama will make it a top priority of his climate change and energy independence agenda to reduce oil consumption by at least 35%, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030. This will more than offset the equivalent of oil we are expected to import from OPEC nations in 2030.

To meet this goal, the Obama plan will establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard, deploy advanced biofuels, repeal tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and implement the following policies:
  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama has developed an innovative approach to double fuel economy standards within 18 years while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers. His plan, which will save nearly a half trillion gallons of gasoline and 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2028, will establish concrete targets for annual CAFE increases while giving industry the flexibility to meet those targets. Obama’s innovative approach broke through a 20 year deadlock in Congress and is the basis for bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate this year.
  1. Provide Support for Domestic Automakers: Obama’s plan to raise fuel efficiency standards will also provide retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel-efficient cars can be built in the U.S. rather than overseas.
  2. This measure will strengthen the U.S. manufacturing sector and help ensure that American workers will build the high-demand cars of the future.
  • Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug-in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which have the capability of getting well over 250 miles per gallon of gasoline.
  1. As president, Obama will continue this leadership by investing in advanced vehicle technology that utilizes advanced lightweight materials and new engines. The increased federal funding will leverage private sector funds to bring plug-in hybrids and other advanced vehicles to American consumers.
  2. Obama will also expand consumer tax incentives by lifting the 60,000-per-manufacturer cap on buyer tax credits to allow more Americans to buy ultra-efficient vehicles.
  • Build Biofuel Distribution Infrastructure: As the percent of biofuels in gasoline increases over 10 percent, conventional fueling equipment will need to be replaced with pumps and tanks capable of handling higher biofuel blends. Barack Obama has been one of the strongest proponents in Congress for increasing the national supply of home-grown American ethanol and biodiesel.
  1. Obama is the only Democratic presidential candidate to cosponsor and actively campaign to establish the nation’s first federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which is now law.
  2. Obama also led the successful effort to make gas stations eligible for a tax credit to cover 30 percent of the costs of installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps. Obama will build on those efforts to improve the production, supply and distribution of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel.
  • Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles: Barack Obama believes that all new vehicles sold in the U.S. should be flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which means they can run on biofuel blends like E85. Obama will work with Congress and auto companies to ensure that all new vehicles have FFV capability by the end of his first term in office.
  • Increase Renewable Fuel Standard: As a leader in the effort to establish the nation’s first Renewable Fuel Standard, Obama understands firsthand the importance of continuing to increase the supply of biofuels in our national fuel supply.
  1. Obama believes it is imperative that Congress adopt the Senate-passed proposal to increase the RFS to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
  2. As president, Obama will seek to surpass these targets and establish a requirement to produce at least 60 billion gallons of biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, by 2030.
  • Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Over the longer term, we know that the amount of fuel we will use is directly related to our land use decisions and development patterns, much of which have been organized around the principle of cheap gasoline. Barack Obama believes that we must move beyond our simple fixation of investing so many of our transportation dollars in serving drivers and that we must make more investments that make it easier for us to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives.
  1. Reform Federal Transportation Funding: As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
  2. Obama will build upon his efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks, and he will also re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Building more livable and sustainable communities will not only reduce the amount of time individuals spent commuting, but will also have significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Require States to Plan for Energy Conservation: Current law simply asks governors and their state Departments of Transportation to “consider” energy conservation as a condition of receiving federal transportation dollars. As president, Obama will require governors and local leaders in our metropolitan areas to make “energy conservation” a required part of their planning for the expenditure of federal transportation funds.
  4. Level Employer Incentives for Driving and Public Transit: The federal tax code rewards driving to work by allowing employers to provide parking benefits of $205 per month tax free to their employees. The tax code provides employers with commuting benefits for transit, carpooling or vanpooling capped at $105 per month. This gives drivers a nearly 2:1 advantage over transit users. Obama will reform the tax code to make benefits for driving and public transit or ridesharing equal.
---Taken from Barack Obama's Energy Plan, located at

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