Obama Sticks With 1 Million Plug-Ins by 2015, Cuts Oil Sweetheart Deals

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Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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His party may be under increasing pressure from the Tea Party movement as it fights conservative attempts to stifle everything from healthcare reform to government spending, but President Obama is still keen to push the electric car revolution. 

Speaking at last night’s State of the Union Address, Obama clearly reiterated his desire to support the continuing innovation and development of fuel efficient and plug-in vehicles, echoing a campaign promise to get 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. 

Talking about technological revolution and citing the great inventions and innovations of America’s past, Obama highlighted his plan to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

Calling it the U.S.‘s “Sputnik moment”, Obama called on the U.S. to reinvent itself, with new energy policy and challenges that every citizen can help meet. 

President Obama inspects the 2011 Chevrolet Volt

President Obama inspects the 2011 Chevrolet Volt

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His solution? To remove the government payouts to oil companies and to encourage the growth of clean electricity to reach an 80% clean energy mix in the U.S. by 2035.

“With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015,” he told the joint session. “We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”

How will the extra money be invested in electric vehicles? Expect a continuation of existing electric car incentives, as well as further assistance to automakers seeking to bring plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles to market. 

But will Obama really be able to  cut government payouts to the oil industry.

T. Boone Pickens with President Barack Obama

T. Boone Pickens with President Barack Obama

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Don’t hold your breath. Lobbyists are still a force to be reckoned with in Washington. 

Unless oil and gas lobbyists are completely swept away, expect any clean energy policy designed to cut funding to the oil industry to be given a hard time in the current session

And that may not mean roses and puppy dogs for the electric car industry - at least for now. 

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Comments (10)
  1. If you remember, many of these subsidies were created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to rebuild the oil infrastructure that was destroyed. Do we now no longer care about New Orleans or Louisiana and the other states whose energy infrastructures were smashed?

  2. More detail on oil company tax breaks can be found in this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html

  3. I million plug-ins by 2015 is a lofty goal, but even with the big oil subsidy money (not gonna happen...) and even if there were such a large market for plug-ins with their current limitations: where are these plug-ins supposed to come from? Every self respecting carmaker has an EV program at this point but most of them won't come to fruition til years from now. As far as I can tell the capacity to build Obama's dream just won't be in place in time for 2015. What will be firmly in place by then though according to many pundits is peak-oil....Where is a Sputnik moment when you need it...

  4. Where is Congress 2? Answer: K Street! Because that where they go to pry. After they are finished as politicians, they are hired by Big lobbying firms, who are funded by Big Industry to influence the Congress in session. There in lies the problem with Obama's plans. Much of the election campaign money and party favors are paid by these people to the politicians and in return, they expect special treatment and they get it. He has a fat chance of getting rid of the pay-backs to support an energy policy other than fossil fuels.
    If this happens, it will not be led by the U.S. Congress because they are owned by the very people who pay their election bills.

  5. With all the backlog on production there is and more and more companies desiring a piece of the pie that estimate might be caught early.

  6. I think its going to get worse before it gets better, were gonna see bad stuff happen first 10$ a gallon gas, people killing for food.... you name it.... we need a revolution to change anything

  7. In reality, Obama's stated goal of one million cars on the road by 2015 isn't such a pipe dream. Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF electric cars have already started to hit the freeways as of last month. Those car companies are leading the mass-production parade, but other automakers are set to follow. Ford, for instance, is slated to produce five electric models.
    But what will make electric cars gain mass acceptance and popularity is the most compelling driver of all: U.S. Gasoline prices are slated to reach $5.00 a gallon (and rising) within the next few years as we reach global peak oil production. The world needs oil volumes the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia every two years to offset future oil decline rates. Now THAT'S the real pipe dream.
    As people start to experience the many advantages of driving on electrons, the word will spread, and the demand for plug-in cars will grow exponentially. Being able to fuel an electric vehicle for 1/4 the cost of a conventional gas car with very low maintenance costs are pretty convincing reasons to go electric.

  8. Mind you, even when all goes well and Obama gets his one million plug-ins by 2015, that's still only going to make up less than 0.5% of the total number of passenger vehicles in the US. With peak-oil right around the corner it would appear that the US missed it's Sputnik moment deadline by about a decade. I guess that would put it just around the time when GM was busy crushing it's EV-1 program...

  9. In 2008 Olympics, China had to take 1,000,000 gasoline burning cars off the road EVERY DAY. So the athletes could have clean air to breath and be able to have olympic races with out coughing or chocking on polluted air. Every day, the Chinese government took 1,000,000 gasoline burning cars OFF THE ROAD.....AND IT WORKED. For the first time in years the sky above Beijing turned Blue and clear. The first time in years! Not only that, but the sky above Shanxi province also became clear and turned blue, and for the first time in years you could see the stars at night. How can the republicans not know this! I don't know where the Republicans are getting thier info but it is "ignorance is bliss" and It could be some form of terrible conspiracy. Everyone should just read your bibles.

  10. His party may be under increasing pressure from the Tea Party movement as it fights conservative attempts to stifle everything from healthcare reform to government spending, but President Obama is still keen to push the electric car revolution.

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