• Aug 4th 2008 at 3:24PM
  • 50
Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has proposed a new ten-year $150 billion energy plan today in Michigan. A large part of the plan centers around transportation -- both the use of petroleum and the types of cars we are to drive in the future. For automakers, $4 billion in loans and loan guarantees would be made available for PHEV development, with one-million of the vehicles to be ready for sale by 2015. For consumers, a $7,000 tax credit would be offered for their purchase of said vehicle. Also, in a more short-term effort, Obama proposes that the U.S. sells some seventy-million barrels of oil from America's strategic petroleum reserve.
While those PHEVs are being developed, Obama's plan would increase fuel economy standards 4-percent per year. What's more, Obama would mandate at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2030 while requiring that fuel producers reduce their fuel's carbon emissions by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years. To make those biofuels have as large an impact as possible, all new vehicles would be required to have flex-fuel capability within four years.

Lastly, the entire White House fleet will be converted to plug???ins within one year (does this include the new presidential limo that will debut in January?) and half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug???in hybrids or all???electric by 2012. See the entire plan in .pdf form at this link.

[Source: Barack Obama - .pdf]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd be a bit happier with his goal of energy independence if it involved more mass transportation.

      Is there really any other option?



        • 7 Years Ago
        Sure there are other options. Anything running on electricity, gasified coal, biofules or oil-based fossil fuels from the US (or Canada, as far as I'm concerned) is not using imported oil. The displacement of imported oil will result in energy independence.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How much of a drain will the plug-ins be on the power grid? How much juice does it take to recharge these vehicles? Once you arrive at your destination you would probably have to recharge depending on the distance driven. Then recharge once you return home. People in apartments and condos couldn't recharge. It's all a nice idea but what's in place to allow for all of this recharging. And what if a dog or other animal comes along and accidentally pulls the cord out of the plug? You come out to go somewhere and find the cord laying on the the ground.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like most of the ideas. My next car purchase will be an American-made EV, or else I will continue to buy used cars until one becomes available.

      I'm one of the rare conservatives that thinks that high gas prices are a good thing. The temporary shock it introduces into the economy is needed, sadly, to get people to purchase vehicles that meet their needs, not their egos. We aren't going to become energy independent if we don't change our behaviors, and merely talking about it hasn't helped change things in the past.

      Dipping into the reserves is moronic. Oil prices have already dropped, and a temporary dip isn't going to help much of anything. In addition, the reserves will then need to be replenished, which will in turn drive up the price of oil

      The idea of going after the oil companies to take away profits is a moronic idea. The companies will simply leave the country, as they should. It will be decades before the economy grows enough to replace the money lost. And what will Obama go after once they leave? The automakers? The coffee industry? Get real. The ones who will have to step up the the plate and pay for the lost governmental income will be the same ones who sold their vote to Obama to get their $1,000 check. They will pay with their wallets or their jobs. Either way, the loss will be in the tens of thousands in any given person's lifetime.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "The companies will simply leave the country, as they should."

        They're going to haul entire refineries overseas? Really? And some things are physically impossible to relocate -- our national distribution infrastructure of terminals, pipelines, and so on?

        There are several ways the oil companies could respond, and they'll probably take a combination of them. One, they'll start buying up stock and acquiring other companies. You already see this to a lesser extent. These capital expenditures will shrink their profit margins small enough to not be affected by the tax. When times turn sour, they can then sell off these assets. Two, they can spin off US assets into separate companies that are structured not to get major windfalls. For example, there's virtually no profit margin on refining gasoline these days, and the diesel margin is at best enough to offset the gasoline margin. Spinning off a refining division to the US and headquartering the very profitable production division overseas (even if just from a Jamaican P.O. box) would be an effective way to escape the tax.

        If the tax is modified to try and get overseas companies to prevent these dodges -- something more akin to a tarriff -- well, that's just a roundabout gas tax. And I, like you, support high gas prices, as it encourages change.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ack, now it posts :P
        • 7 Years Ago
        "The companies will simply leave the country, as they should."

        They're going to haul entire refineries overseas? Really? And some things are physically impossible to relocate -- our national distribution infrastructure of terminals, pipelines, and so on?

        There are several ways the oil companies could respond, and they'll probably take a combination of them. One, they'll start buying up stock and acquiring other companies. You already see this to a lesser extent. These capital expenditures will shrink their profit margins small enough to not be affected by the tax. When times turn sour, they can then sell off these assets. Two, they can spin off US assets into separate companies that are structured not to get major windfalls. For example, there's virtually no profit margin on refining gasoline these days, and the diesel margin is at best enough to offset the gasoline margin. Spinning off a refining division to the US and headquartering the very profitable production division
        overseas (even if just from a Jamaican P.O. box) would be an
        effective way to escape the tax.

        If the tax is modified to try and get overseas companies to prevent these dodges -- something more akin to a tarriff -- well, that's just a roundabout gas tax. And I, like you, support high gas prices, as it encourages change.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "They're going to haul entire refineries overseas? Really?"

        No, and I didn't say so. They will move their HQ's overseas.

        It apparently hasn't occurred to you that companies pay taxes on the profit they make to the countries in which they reside. Obama is complaining about Exxon's profits, for example. He isn't complaining about the profits foreign comanies are making (even though some of them are proabaly 50X the size of Exxon) because they don't reside in the US. Foreign companies can also refine oil anywhere they are allowed to build refineries. What country isn't going to welcome them with open arms?

        Of course, Obama could try to get even and tax gas, but then he'd be back to where he started.
      • 7 Years Ago
      At the rate the electricity is being used how will the grid be able to supply 1 million hybrids being added? They won't all be charging at night.
      • 7 Years Ago
      According to a 2006 DOT study, there are some 250 million fossil fuel vehicles registered in the US today, so 1 million plug-ins by 2015 would represent one quarter of one percent of all vehicles - barely a drop in the bucket. As for increased CAFE standards and lower emissions standards/flex-fuel requriements for fossil fuel vehicles, these all add significant cost to the vehicle and that, coupled with the loss in trade in value of the owner's current vehicle, means that the owner is likely be "upside down" if they went in to buy a new vehicle, causing them to hold onto their current vehicle longer, as opposed to buying a new one. This all means we need more oil for gasoline for the next 20-30 years.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You'd think that the drugs would be out of his system by now!! This man changes his stances on EVERYTHING more often than I change underwear = and that's daily!
      • 7 Years Ago
      "No, and I didn't say so. They will move their HQ's overseas."

      Which is how I just said they would respond (although they'd probably leave their less profitable divisions behind). Either way, the jobs would still be here. To counter the relocations... well, didn't I just address all of this in my last post? Why are you making me repeat my last post?

      "He isn't complaining about the profits foreign comanies are making (even though some of them are proabaly 50X the size of Exxon)"

      No. ExxonMobil is the largest corporation on Earth, both by revenue and by market capitalization. Are you referring to the various national oil companies? PDVSA's *annual* profit is generally less than ExxonMobil's last quarterly profit. PEMEX's last quarterly profit was a mere $1.6B. Petrobras had twice that. Gazprom is closer to ExxonMobil, but they're still less. I can keep going if you'd like.

      "Also, we've already seen what windfall profit taxes do to domestic oil production (read a history book)."

      Huh? Between 1980 and 1986, oil fell from $30 to $10 a barrel. The last WPT was a failure because it didn't collect much money because oil had gotten so cheap, and the tax was keyed to profits on the price of oil over a higher baseline. I don't care where you're from, if oil is that dirt cheap, production anywhere but the cheapest places on the planet to produce from is going to fall.

      "How much of a drain will the plug-ins be on the power grid? How much juice does it take to recharge these vehicles?"

      Wow, there are still people around here that still believe that this is a problem? Here's a hint for you: the power companies are among the biggest backers of plug-ins. Most plug-in charging will be at night, on off-peak power, which is a boon to the grid. Smart charging, if implemented, would be an even bigger boon to the grid, as it allows power companies to load level without any extra investment on their part. Let me reiterate: EVs let you get *more* out of your existing infrastructure and make the grid *more stable*. Even if every last drop of oil we consumed was swapped out for electricity, it'd still only amount to 30-40% of our current total electric consumption.

      Even if this wasn't the case, as if electric infrastructure is somehow harder to build than oil infrastructure. Just the opposite, really; that's largely why electricity is so much cheaper.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The electric grid is a mess. It will take 20 years to get 10% of our energy from wind and solar. The Democrats will not let us use nuclear becuase of the 3 MIle island accident. They will not let us use coal, even clean coal. there were two major sources of clean coal in the world Indonesia and Utah. The location in Utah was declared a national park by Clinton to block off development. One thing I do not get from the Democrat position is that only solar and wind. Have we not figured out from the oil "crisis" that we need every form of energy so the US of A is not solely dependent on one form of energy. There are currently over 100 million cars on the road that use gas - are those going to be taken away from us by the government? What about airplanes? As far as I know no one is even working on a solar powered airliner that can hold 100s of people.

      If everything is going to convert to electricity where is the necessary amount of electricity going to come from?

      Bottom line we need all forms of energy use. the US has some of the strictest rules to make sure things are done in a clean way. We need to block all the lawsuits and just start drilling, but a windfarm outside of Teddy Kennedy's house, and use old military bases for refineries, coal and nuclear plants.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "More drilling will add supply in about 10 years..." This is the Democratic "line" and is false. The field where oil companies want to drill in ANWAR is 75 miles from the existing Alaskan Pipeline. The Alaskan Pipeline was completed in about 3 years (1974-77) and is 800 miles long. Why would you think it would take more than tripple the time just to drill and then add 75 miles to the pipeline?

      The blab about how many acres of land the oil companies already lease is more liberal Pelosi poop! It is a simple matter of economics and, for the oil companies, it is more economical to drill in ANWAR than in the low yield areas of the north central and north west.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with EVan, I like much of this plan. I especially like the $7000 credit for the PURCHASE of plug-in vehicles... I'm a big fan on demand-side stimulation, let the market sort out which companies and technologies win. I hope such a rule would be written to include the likes of Aptera.

      However I also agree with GROM, insofar as approaching an election it's not wise to take anything any candidate says as gospel. I mean look at what Bush sounded like in 2000! Looking at their records, I get the feeling that either candidate would be a HUGE improvement in energy policy. I sure hope so, cause we need some some leadership, or at least some federal getting-the-heck-out-of-the-way (I'm looking at you Stephen Johnson).
      • 7 Years Ago
      oops.

      There are 250 million cars on the road. so this million Obama talks about is 1/250th.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh, and since there are million cars on the highway, this $150 billion program will reduce our emissions (or dependence on foreign oil) by what? 1/250th?

      Or a little less than half of one percent?

      How does this make sense?

    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X