The United States is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles, with twice as many hybrids available in the last five years and seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more, President Barack Obama said on Friday.
"So we are making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars and trucks entirely off oil," Obama said in a speech on energy at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. "That is why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal." The plan -- which builds off a proposal from a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals, admirals and leading CEOs -- would be funded with oil and gas revenues from public lands. The money would be put toward research "that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit," the President said.
The plan would help scientists design new engines that are more energy efficient, develop cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge, and devise new ways to fuel cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy, such as advanced biofuels and natural gas, he said.
The reason so many different people from the private sector, public sector and US military support the idea is because "it is not just about saving money; it is also about saving the environment, but it is also about our national security," Obama said.
"For military officials -- like General Paul Kelley, a former commandant of the Marine Corps -- this is about national security," the President said. "Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile."