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Obama Calls for Increased Natural Gas, Biofuel to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence

President Barack Obama yesterday announced a plan to cut U.S. oil imports by a third by 2025.

Speaking at Georgetown University, the president proposed greater use of natural gas, including the introduction of incentives for natural gas fleets such as buses.

He also voiced support for increasing production of biofuels, and promised the creation of at least four large-scale refineries to produce cellulosic ethanol or advanced biofuels within the next two years.

Obama also said he would raise fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, mirroring actions his administration has already taken to raise efficiency and emissions standards for passenger vehicles. And he called on oil and gas companies to develop what he called “tens of millions of acres” covered by leases.

Many aspects of the plan were not new, the Washington Post noted.

“Interestingly, to reach this goal, the administration is largely betting that a bulk of the reduction would come from the aggressive fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles (known as ‘CAFE standards’) announced by Obama in 2009,” Glenn Kessler noted in his Fact Checker column.

“The new standards are supposed to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of passenger vehicles sold between 2012 and 2016. So, notwithstanding this week’s speech, the most significant action taken by the president to reduce dependence on foreign oil has already been taken,” Kessler added.

Natural gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens, author of the Pickens Plan to wean the country off of foreign oil, said, “Converting heavy-duty trucks and high-fuel use commercial fleet vehicles to natural gas can reduce our OPEC dependence now while we wait for technology to power the vehicles of tomorrow… Recent unrest in the Middle East underscores the need to take action now and I’m encouraged by the President’s promise to secure America’s energy future and national security by reducing our dependence on OPEC oil.”

Pickens said that his plan to encourage more heavy duty fleet vehicles to run on domestic resources is included in the NAT GAS Act, which will be introduced next week in U.S. House of Representatives by congressmen John Sullivan (R-OK), Dan Boren (D-OK), John Larson (D-CT) and Kevin Brady (R-TX).

Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), said, “American taxpayers can’t afford to be burdened with billions upon billions of dollars in taxes to subsidize ethanol, electric cars, and other energy ideas that can’t survive in the free market.

“These endless subsidies only increase the economic pain Americans are suffering, as do the greenhouse gas regulations and similar mandates the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing on our economy that drive up energy costs without improving our environment,” Drevna added.

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5 thoughts on “Obama Calls for Increased Natural Gas, Biofuel to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence

  1. Just didn’t want to let pass without comment, the lies and distortions opinionated by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA). Their thin disguise does little to hide the fact that they are acting in their own economic interests, but trying to hide those interests with distortions like “endless subsidies” and outright lies like “mandates … that drive up energy costs without improving our environment”.

    It is foolish to rely on such non-objective sources in any national debate. The media needs to get out of the habit of quoting such sources, and presenting such opinions as valid points of view.

  2. So… natural gas tycoon is excited by natural gas positive legislation… and the NPRA president denouncing renewable energy and alternative fuel investments with brutally overused tripe like, “American taxpayers can’t afford to be burdened… ideas that can’t survive in the free market… endless subsidies… economic pain, American’s are suffering!”

    Obvious bias is obviously biased.

    Let us not waste time publicizing the dribblings of fossil fuel CEO’s who so very obviously have no genuine concern for anything other than their shareholders’ opinions. Companies, especially fossil fuel producers/refiners/distributors, by their very nature and definition cannot be successful if profit isn’t their primary concern. “Sustainability” to them is a deliciously deceptive term that can be woven into their CSR image and allow them to assert their relevance in a future they are determined to profit from, no matter how much they need to exploit or destroy to garauntee that profit.

    It is difficult not to be cynical whenever I hear of competing fossil fuel producers cry foul or fair, and liken their brethren to the past as they distinguish themselves as the future.

    Natural gas will certainly be a useful resource while weening ourselves off of fossil fuels, but as the talons sink deeper, and the lobbyists grow in numbers, and the campaign contributions ensure representation… it just feels less like progress than I thought it would. However, like so many others, I will remain vigilant and optimistic – even if I occasionally rant about it.

    I mean, it’s not like its the end of the world… right?

  3. It’s remarkable how soon after one of the largest oil spills of all times that costed the tax payer huge amounts of money the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) critizises policies related to renewable energy sources. How about the disastrous environmental impacts of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010 and the quality of life costs for the concerned coastal communities?

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