Obama Calls for One-Third Cut in US Oil Imports by 2025
says his goal of slashing oil imports is reasonable, achievable and necessary for protecting U.S. economic
President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about his plan for America's energy security at Georgetown University in Washington, March 30, 2011
President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for the United States to cut its imports of oil by one-third by 2025. That is one of several goals in the president's national energy policy.
President Obama went to Washington's Georgetown University to outline what he calls a "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future."
The president said his goal of slashing oil imports is reasonable, achievable and necessary for protecting U.S. economic security.
"When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day," said Obama. "By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third."
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Obama said two conditions must be met to reach that goal.
"Meeting the goal of cutting our oil dependence depends largely on two things. First, finding and producing more oil at home," he added. "Second, reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency."
The president responded to critics who say his administration is not doing enough to encourage domestic oil production. He said production must be increased, but with the lessons of last year's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill in mind.
"We are also exploring and assessing new frontiers for oil and gas development - from Alaska to the Mid- and South Atlantic states because producing more oil in America can help lower oil prices, can help create jobs and can enhance our energy security," Obama added. "But we have got to do it in the right way."
Mr. Obama is looking for ways to stimulate the production and use of natural gas as an alternative to oil.
The president also wants to encourage the use of biofuels, including ethanol, switchgrass, wood chips and biomass. He said the U.S. Air Force is working to obtain half of its domestic jet fuel from alternative sources by 2016.
In addition, Mr. Obama is calling on American automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, including those that run on electricity. During his first year in office, he set a goal to have 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.
In his State of the Union address in January, the president called for doubling the percentage of U.S. electricity that comes from clean energy sources to 80 percent by 2035.
Despite the nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, Mr. Obama said atomic energy has important potential for generating electricity without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. He has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make sure that all existing U.S. nuclear plants are safe.
"And we are going to incorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japan in the design and the building of the next generation of plants. But we cannot simply take it off the table," Obama noted.
As Congress continues to debate this year's government budget, the president warned that other areas must be cut to pay for federal incentives to advance his energy program.