Barack ObamaEnlarge Photo
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 VoltEnlarge Photo
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 ObamaEnlarge Photo
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.