Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rick Perry's record on fracking

Just one month before jumping into the Republican race for president, Texas Governor Rick Perry made his state the first in the nation to require drilling operators to disclose chemicals used during the hydraulic fracturing process when he signed into law HB 3328.

Perry celebrated the move in a speech delivered on June 15, 2011 at a Peterbilt factory in Denton, Texas.

Watch video of Rick Perry's speech on energy 

Transcript of Rick Perry's speech on energy:

Thank you Bill [Jackson, VP of PACCAR Inc and GM of Peterbilt Motors Co.] for that introduction, and I'd like to thank everyone here at Peterbilt for taking me on a tour of this facility.
Those of you unfamiliar with the story of this plant here in Denton, allow me to sum up: This is a facility that employs Texans to produce trucks powered by natural gas produced right here in Texas.
I think we all can get behind that.
This factory stands as yet another example of what's possible when innovative minds are given the freedom to explore, to try new approaches and meet challenges in unique and exciting ways.
That's always been the Texas model, and it's working.
It's working from the standpoint of creating jobs with Texas home to the most new jobs in the nation since 2001, and 45 percent of the new jobs created in the United States since June 2009, according to the Dallas Fed.
It's also working from the standpoint of cleaning the air with our ozone levels down 27 percent from 2000 to 2009, the most improvement in the nation, and our NOx emissions down nearly 58 percent.
A lot's been said in the last few days about the EPA's continuing efforts to take over Texas' regulatory systems.
For reasons of their own, Washington insists that new layers of bureaucracy, layers that add cost but don't do a thing to improve air quality are reason enough to destroy our successful flexible permitting program, as they continue to take more and more control over state matters.
We're not here to talk about them today, though, this is a day to talk about smart, effective government.
The 82nd Legislature passed several bills that will help Texas continue to lead the nation in energy production and expand our use of alternative sources of power, an area in which we're already a national leader.
SB 20 sponsored by Rep. Jim Keffer, who's with us today, will create a new "clean transportation triangle" between Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, helping add the infrastructure necessary to allow natural gas-fueled trucks, such as the ones produced here, to expand their range across our state.
We also passed legislation to increase transparency in energy production.
SB 527, co-authored by Sen. Nelson and sponsored by Rep. Tan Parker, provides for additional air monitoring stations around the Barnett Shale region, and HB 3328authored by both Rep. Keffer and Rep. Parker requires additional disclosure of the materials used in hydraulic fracturing.
This new fracking material disclosure law, one of the first and the strongest in the nation, will help ensure safety and environmental quality, while encouraging American energy production and reducing dependence on foreign oil.
Taken together, SB 527 and HB 3328 will reinforce what we already know, that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, effective way to unlock decades' worth of energy trapped far beneath our state's surface.
The success of hydraulic fracturing led to the opening of major fields in Barnett Shale, along with newer fields in Haynesville in the Northeast and Eagle Ford down South, creating thousands of jobs, millions in investments and providing more affordable energy for Texas families.
Again, this was not a success that was created through a mandate or because of draconian penalties or based on ever-shifting numbers on a bureaucrat's spreadsheet.
This was a success created by the brightest minds of our energy industry who tackled a challenge head-on and created the drilling techniques that would be hailed by energy experts as the "biggest innovation of the first decade of the century."
The state's biggest contribution was keeping our economic climate favorable, keeping our regulatory system predictable and fair, and then simply staying out of the way.
That's the way it's supposed to work.
Truth of the matter is, America needs all the innovation we can muster to reduce our dependency on foreign sources of energy.
And again, our combination of job creation and improved air quality here in Texas proves that there's a way it can be done, The Texas way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mitt Romney talks climate change in Dover, New Hampshire

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded to a voters question about climate  change at an August 25, 2011 Town Hall Meeting in Dover, NH.

Transcript of Mitt Romney's comments on climate change:
Voter: In June you said, and I quote, “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions polluntants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming.”
Yesterday, you said about global warming and I quote, “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans."
Now a quote from the National Academy of Sciences exhaustive report on climate change, “Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested and supported by so many independent observations and results that their likelihood of subsequently being found wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories then are regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusion that the Earth’s system is warming and that much of this warming is likely due to human activities.”
 My two questions:
Is the National Academy of Sciences a reliable source of information on climate science and if not, what do you use for your source?
And secondly, do you continue to support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as in your book, No Apologies, through revenue neutral carbon tax or payroll tax cut.
Mitt Romney: Payroll tax cut?
Anyways, lets come back… let me tell you what I believe about the environment. And by the way, my book lays it out. The nice thing about writing a book is that it is all right there. So I’m going to give you an answer in a couple of minutes, but if you are really interested in digging into it, you can read what I wrote. I wrote a whole chapter about energy and about the climate.
And so, I’ll give you a summary. But let me tell you what it is.
I think the Earth is getting warmer. I know this room is.
I think the Earth is getting warmer. I think humans contribute to that. I don’t know by how much. It could be a little. Could be a lot. I don’t know by how much.
And so I’m not willing on that basis to spend trillions of dollars trying to stop in America for instance, the emissions of CO2.
So what it leads me to is an energy policy that some call a “no regrets policy”, meaning take action that you would take anyway that has the byproduct of reducing CO2.
So I would take as my energy policy not a cap and trade approach. As I point out in my book I oppose cap and trade. I would not put in place a gas tax or a carbon tax. Those likewise in my book I indicate and what I would do is follow policies that get America energy secure and energy independent of the cartels.
What are those policies?
Use more natural gas. We have it in abundance. We’ve now learned how to drill not just vertically, but also horizontally and to capture all sorts of natural gas. We have hundreds of years of it.
Natural gas emits less CO2 than coal. So as we use natural gas, we not only free ourselves of foreign sources of energy. We also, as a byproduct, reduce our CO2.
I like nuclear power. When we build our nuclear power plant, we should not put the diesel reserve backup engine at sea level if there’s a fault line near it. Alright, there’s some things we’ve learned. And so I’d like to see more nuclear power.
I’d like to see us drilling for oil, find technology for clean gas – excuse me for clean coal rather. And I want to use those sources.
I want to see more efficiency. These things will get us on track to becoming energy independent and energy secure and as a byproduct they’ll reduce CO2. Maybe that’ll help. Maybe it won’t. I don’t know.
But if we reduce CO2, why it can’t hurt. At least I don’t think it can hurt.
And my own view is I’m not a scientist. I can’t tell you how much of the warming I think we’re experiencing is caused by human beings. It may be a lot. It may be a little.
But again, my policy is not to impose trillions of dollars in costs and job killing measures like cap and trade and carbon taxes on the American people. That’s my view. 
A complete video of Mitt Romney's Town Hall meeting in Dover, NH is available on C-Span.

Photo of Mitt Romney by Jessica Rinaldi

Mitt Romney calls for energy independence at Dover Town Hall meeting

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney summarized his "all of the above" approach to energy policy at an August 25, 2011 Town Hall Meeting in Dover, New Hampshire:
… you’ve got to become energy secure, independent of the cartels.
That means developing our own oil and gas and coal and nuclear and wind and solar…
America needs to needs to be energy independent from the cartels. 
Watch the full video of Mitt Romney's Town Hall on C-Span

Mitt Romney talks global warming in Lebanon, NH

Mitt Romney’s latest comments on climate change came at this week’s Town Hall Meeting in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Here’s what he had to say, as reported by Reuters (among many others):

Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is. I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans...
What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to...
My view is pursue a strategy which gets us into energy independence which has as a byproduct it gets us into less CO2 emitting...
I do not believe in cap and trade and I do not believe in putting a carbon tax… I oppose those.
Mitt Romney also commented extensively on climate science and energy policy at a Town Hall Meeting in Dover, NH held that same day. Click here to read a transcript of his comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ron Paul talks ethanol in Iowa

Iowans Fueled with Pride has posted a video of Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul fielding a question about ethanol at the Iowa State Fair on YouTube.

Watch the video:

Transcript of Ron Paul's comments on ethanol:
Iowans Fueled with Pride: Congressman, the recent introduction of the EPA appropriations bill would effectively ban E15…
Ron Paul: It would ban what?
Iowans Fueled with Pride: It would ban E15 ethanol gasoline. 
Ron Paul: Yeah?
Iowans Fueled with Pride: I was wondering if you would oppose that bill?
Ron Paul: I don’t want to ban anything. But I don’t want any mandates either.
I want ethanol to exist, but I don’t want to artificially boost it.
I don’t want to ban ethanol, but I want the market to determine, you know, which is the best energy.
I don’t believe much in tariffs or mandates, but I wouldn’t have banning anything.
What would that do, it would ban would ban the production of ethanol?
Iowans Fueled with Pride: Yup, the introduction of E15 gasoline, 15% blend. It would ban that. 
Ron Paul: Yeah, but I wonder. You would think the environmentalists would want that. There are some people who want to ban it?
I think the market should decide if it’s a good idea and it’s economic.
Iowans Fueled with Pride: Its Republican Congressmen from the oil states that have introduced it.
Ron Paul: Oh, they want to do that?
See, one minute they give an answer to one person, the other one has to come back and give an answer for themselves. All this stuff can be sorted out through the marketplace.
No appropriations and no mandates. If you try to apply those, everything’s voluntary and the consumer gets to decide which products will survive.
For instance, we have the ethanol from corn because of subsidies. We have tax imports as well as mandates. In Texas they could raise sugar cane like they raise sugar cane in Brazil. But we don’t allow it because we don’t give the same tax credits and things.
So you want the market to work and sort it out.
You don’t want to mandate it or prohibit it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rick Perry global warming video

Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry responded to a question about climate change during his appearance at Politics & Eggs, held at the Bedford Inn in Bedford, NH on August 17, 2011.

Video of Rick Perry questioning the science on global warming courtesy of American Bridge 21st Century.

Transcript of Rick Perry's climate change remarks:
You may have a point there because, I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects. I think we're seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate's changed, it's been changing for ever-ever since the earth was formed, but I do not buy into that uh, a group of scientists, who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information and the cost to the country and to the world of implementing these uh, uh anti-carbon programs is in the billions if not trillions of dollars at the end of the, of the day, and I don't think from my perspective I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.
Meanwhile, Politico reminded voters that "Rick Perry backed an already-climate crusading Al Gore" in 1988. At the time, Perry was a Democrat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

President Obama talks renewable energy, jobs at Cannon Falls, MN Town Hall

President Barack Obama answered a question about green jobs during a Town Hall Meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota on August 15,2011.

Question: My question is, how are you going to use renewable energy to create jobs in the future?
Barack Obama:  Well, this is a great question, especially for rural communities all across America.  Tom Vilsack, who was the former governor of Iowa, knows a little bit about agriculture.  And so when I put Tom in as the head of the Department of Agriculture, one of the first things we talked about was, how can we mobilize the incredible resourcefulness and hard work of rural communities all across this country, not just to create jobs, but also to win back energy independence.   And as a consequence, we have put billions of dollars into energy research and to help move in a direction of greater reliance on fuels that are homegrown.
So let me give you a couple of examples.  One, obviously, is biofuels.  And a lot of folks here are familiar with corn-based ethanol, but the fact of the matter is the technology is moving where we need to start taking advantage of a whole range of biofuels, using refuse, using stuff that we don’t use for food to create energy.  And we are seeing incredible progress on that front, but it’s key to make sure that we continue to make the research and that we also use the incredible purchasing power of the federal government to encourage it.  
So one of the things that I know we’re doing is we’re actually working with the Department of Defense to start saying, let’s run some of these -- let me just say this:  The Department of Defense uses a lot of fuel, so the question is, can we get trucks and jeeps and, in some cases, even fighter jets running on alternative fuels, which is important for our national security but also could provide an incredible boost to communities all across Minnesota, all across the country?
The other thing that we have to do is look at things like wind power and solar power and the next generation of electric vehicles.  You will recall when I came into office they were talking about the liquidation of GM and Chrysler, and a lot of folks said, you can’t help them, and it’s a waste of the government’s money to try to help them.  But what I said was, we can’t afford to lose up to a million jobs in this country, particularly in the Midwest, but we also can’t afford to lose leadership in terms of building an auto industry that we used to own.
And so we turned around those auto companies -- they are now making a profit for the first time in decades, they’re gaining market share for the first time in years.  (Applause.)  But what we said was, if we’re going to help you, then you’ve also got to change your ways.  You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks.  There’s a place for SUVs and trucks, but as gas prices keep on going up, you’ve got to understand the market -- people are going to be trying to save money.  
And so what we’ve now seen is an investment in electric vehicles, and then what we did was we put investments in something called advanced battery manufacturing, because those electric cars, how well they run depends on how good the batteries are -- how long they can run before they get recharged.  We only had 2 percent of the advanced battery manufacturing market when I came into office.  We’re on track now to have 30, 40, 50 percent of that market.  (Applause.)  We are making batteries here in the United States of America that go into electric cars made here in the United States of America.  It creates jobs, and it creates -- (applause) -- and it creates energy independence, and it also improves our environment.
So that’s the kind of approach that we have to take -- using the private sector, understanding that ultimately the private sector is going to be creating jobs, but also understanding that the government can be an effective partner in that process.  And nowhere is that more true than in rural America.  So, great question. 

Click here for a complete transcript of President Obama's Cannon Falls Town Hall

Watch a video of the President's remarks:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rick Perry talks energy in New Hampshire (Video)

Texas Governor Rick Perry responded to a voter's question about energy independence during his first visit to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate.

Video of Rick Perry talking energy policy in Greenland, NH

Transcript of Rick Perry comments on energy independence after his speech in Greenland, NH 

Rick Perry: He’s asking the question of how do we become energy independent? How do we create the jobs? What would be my plan to make America more energy independent? Is that a fair way to put it?
Voter: Yeah.
Rick Perry: When you heard me talking about removing the burdens on the job creators. The energy industry in America is a great example of that.
And the fact is, I am an all of the above energy guy. Now, I have a little asterisk on corn-based ethanol. It’s got some problems and I think they are going to start moving out of those subsidies and that government can’t go picking choosing winners…
But wind energy, solar energy and biomass… I am a supporter of nuclear energy. As a matter of fact, we’ve got three plants that are permitted in the State of Texas.
My heart goes out to the folks in Japan and what they’ve gone through. It’s a massive tragedy. But the fact is we don’t have tsunamis in Texas. And that state is an ideal state to be building nuclear power plants.
The fact is natural gas, which is… we don’t know where all the natural gas is in this country. We’re finding fields in Pennsylvania. Up in the (?), in the Marcellus over in Pennsylvania as I mentioned, in the Hainesville, down in east Texas and Louisiana. The Eagle Ford is a monstrous field in South Texas that we didn’t even know was there ten years ago.
We need to free our country to go and explore. But this administration is sending messages.
You know, I will tell you this. We finally have an energy policy in America at long last. And it is to make us as dependent on foreign sources of energy as we can be. And that is wrong. It is wrong for American jobs. It is wrong for our national security.
Free those agencies of the onerous leadership at the job. The EPA coming into the State of Texas, telling us they’re going to take over our air permitting process because they don’t like the way we are doing it. Now you remember the refining capacity we got in the State of Texas. We cleaned our air up in the decade of the 2000’s more than any other state in the nation: 23% reduction of ozone; 57% reduction of nitrous oxide. By the way, those are real pollutants, not to be confused with CO2.
But this administration wants to come in. Hydraulic fracking and the “questions” that they’re asking about hydraulic fracking – without that this natural gas that is the shell plates can never be produced.
You go to the Gulf Coast, whether you’re in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas and the jobs that have been lost because this administration’s decision to not allow the permitting without any type of rapidity moving forward.
You know, and it kills me. I’ve got folks in Texas and Louisiana – and Bobby Jindall is a great governor. But you’ve got him over here and people loosing jobs in Louisiana because the president and his administration won’t let the permitting process move forward. But this president goes to Brazil and delivers $2 billion to help them deal with their offshore drilling projects. What are they thinking?

We need to be getting the energy industry going in this state and we need to be looking for ways to reduce the regulations and the cost instead of getting them off.  

2011 Iowa Republican Presidential Debate: Energy Roundup

Eight of the Republican candidates for President met in Ames, Iowa on February 12, 2011 for a Fox News debate that set the stage for the Ames Straw Poll, an event that spelled victory for Michele Bachmann and led Tim Pawlenty to drop out of the race.

Bachmann and Pawlenty were joined on stage by Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The candidates sounded off on a number of key issues, including energy policy.

Knowing what the GOP presidential candidates chose not to talk about may be as important to the energy debate as they issues they did choose to focus upon. 

Word count: 

Number of times each of the following energy related terms were used during the first Iowa Republican Presidential Debate of the 2012 election cycle. 

Energy: 13

Cap and trade: 4

Oil: 3

Gasoline: 1

Coal, natural gas: 0

Solar, wind: 0

Climate change, global warming: 0

Now, here's a deeper look at what they had to say.

Michele Bachmann on cap and trade, light bulbs
I would say governor (Tim Pawlenty), when you were governor in Minnesota you implemented cap and trade in our state and you praised the unconstitutional individual mandates and called for requiring all people in our state to purchase health insurance that the government would mandate. 
The policies that the governor (Tim Pawlenty) advocated for were cap and trade. He praised and wanted to require Minnesotans to purchase the unconstitutional individual mandate in health care. And he said the era of small government is over. I have a very consistent record of fighting very hard against Barack Obama and his unconstitutional measures in congress. I’m very proud of that record. That is what qualifies me, as a fighter and representative of the people, to go to Washington, D.C. and to the White House. 
People are looking for a champion. They want someone who has been fighting. When it came to health care, I brought tens of thousands of Americans to Washington to fight the unconstitutional individual mandates. I didn’t praise it. When it came to cap and trade, I fought it with everything that was in me, including I introduced the Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act so people could all purchase the lightbulb of their choice.
I also believe in big government is hurting the United States. We need to have small government.

Herman Cain on energy independence, Iran and nuclear weapons
I believe that our energy strategy is directly related to national security, as well as stopping Iran in their efforts. The head of Iran, Ahmadinejad, has said that he wants to wipe Israel off of the face of the Earth. I take that seriously. He has also said — he has also said that he’s not going to listen to the United States, Britain, or anybody else in their attempts to do what they want to do.
That being said, there’s more to foreign policy than bombs and bullets. There’s bombs and bullets and economics. 
If we go serious about maximizing all of our energy resources in this country, we can become a player on the world market. As the price of oil goes down, it puts an economic squeeze on Iran. This is why I believe we should have a serious energy-independent strategy in order to be able to be a player on the world market. That’s what I meant by using our energy resources, not just oil, but all of our resources to become energy independent.

Mitt Romney on what needs to be done to fix the economy
What needs to be done — there are really seven things that come to mind. One is to make sure our corporate tax rates are competitive with other nations. Number two is to make sure that our regulations and bureaucracy works not just for the bureaucrats in Washington, but for the businesses that are trying to grow. Number three is to have trade policies that work for us, not just for our opponents. Number four is to have an energy policy that gets us energy secure. Number five is to have the rule of law. Six, great institutions that build human capital, because capitalism is also about people, not just capital and physical goods. And number seven is to have a government that doesn’t spend more money than it takes in. And I’ll do it.

Rick Santorum on energy, jobs and manufacturing
When I grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, a little steel town, 21 percent of the people of this country worked in manufacturing. It is now nine. If you want to know where the middle of America went, it went to China, it went to Malaysia, it went to Indonesia. We need to bring it back.
I put together a four-point plan to do it, including energy — producing more energy, because of course manufacturers use more energy than just about everybody else in the business world. But the big thing I proposed is to take the corporate rate which makes us uncompetitive, particularly in exporting goods, take the corporate rate and cut it to zero for manufacturers.
You want to create opportunity for businesses in manufacturing to grow, cut that tax to zero. Our jobs will come back.
We need to get the economy growing. That doesn’t mean taking more money out of it, that means — making — that means creating energy jobs, creating manufacturing jobs. And my plan will do that.

A complete transcript of the 2011 Iowa Republican Presidential Debate is available on

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Al Gore for President 2012?

Al Gore’s recent criticism of President Barack Obama's failure to push federal climate legislation through the U.S. Senate may have some speculating about the former Vice President’s intentions for 2012. Is Gore planning to make a third run for president?

Gore likely put any lingering questions about his potential candidacy to rest last week, when he appeared as a guest on Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

“Do you think the president should be re-nominated by his party? And do you think he should be re-elected by his country?” Olbermann asked. 

Gore’s response: “Well, I support him and I think he will be.”

“I support Barack Obama. I like Barack Obama,” he said. “But we have got to have a more forceful articulation of the vision that our country needs to follow and the values that we hold in our hearts when we say, ‘Yes. We are going to educate our children. We are going to clean up the environment. We’re not going to ignore the climate crisis.’”

Tim Pawlenty: There's definitely climate change

Former Minnesota Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate fielded yet another question about his position on cap and trade and global warming during last week's interview with Marc Caputo of the Miama Herald.
Caputo: You also no longer favor a cap-and-trade global-warming solution, right?
Pawlenty: Like most of the major candidates on the Republican side to varying degrees, everybody studied it, looked at it. We did the same. But I concluded, in the end some years ago, that it was a bad idea… We never actually implemented it. I concluded ultimately it was a bad idea. It would be harmful to the economy. The science was I think based on unreliable conclusions.
Caputo: Do you think there’s man-made climate change?
Pawlenty: Well, there’s definitely climate change. The more interesting question is how much is a result of natural causes and how much, if any, is attributable to human behavior. And that’s what the scientific dispute is about.
Caputo: Were do you fall on the spectrum?
Pawlenty: It’s something we have to look to the science on. The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes. But to the extent there is some element of human behavior causing some of it – that’s what the scientific debate is about. That’s why we’ve seen all this back and forth between some of those prominent scientists in the world arguing about that very point.
Caputo: There is a strong case for man-made climate change, according to a University of Miami climate researcher I’ve spoken to. You don’t agree with him?
Pawlenty: There’s lots of layers to it. But at least as to any potential man-made contribution to it, it’s fair to say the science is in dispute. There’s a lot of people who say the majority of the scientists think this way. And there’s a minority that way. And you count the number of scientists versus the quality of scientists and the like. But I think it’s fair to say that, as to whether and how much – if any – is attributable to human behavior, there’s dispute and controversy over it… Cap and trade I thought is a ham-fisted, expensive, job-ruing economy-stifling approach.

Barack Obama's 54.5 MPG fuel efficiency standard

The average fuel economy of American vehicles will nearly double to 54.5 miles gallon in 2025, thanks to an agreement reached between President Barack Obama and U.S. automakers.

Obama announced the deal on July 29, 2011. Watch video of his speech or read the full transcript below.



Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Good morning.  I've been having a lot of fun this week, but -- (laughter) -- nothing more fun and more important to the future of the American economy than the agreement that we're announcing today.
I am extraordinarily proud to be here today with the leaders of the world’s largest auto companies, and the folks who represent autoworkers all across America.  (Applause.)  I’m glad that I have a chance to see some of the great cars that you are manufacturing.  As some of you may know, it’s only a matter of time until Malia gets her learner’s permit -- (laughter) -- so I’m hoping to see one of those models that gets a top speed of 15 miles an hour -- (laughter) -- the ejector seat anytime boys are in the car.  (Laughter.)  So, hopefully you guys have some of those in the pipeline.
Now, for the last few months, gas prices have just been killing folks at the pump.  People are filling up their tank, and they're watching the cost rise -- $50, $60, $70.  For some families, it means driving less.  But a lot of folks don’t have that luxury.  They’ve got to go to work.  They’ve got to pick up the kids.  They’ve got to make deliveries.  So it’s just another added expense when money is already tight.
And of course, this is not a new problem.  For decades, we’ve left our economy vulnerable to increases in the price of oil.  And with the demand for oil going up in countries like China and India, the problem is only getting worse.  The demand for oil is inexorably rising far faster than supply.  And that means prices will keep going up unless we do something about our own dependence on oil.  That’s the reality.
At the same time, it’s also true that there is no quick fix to the problem.  There’s no silver bullet here.  But there are steps we can take now that will help us become more energy independent.  There are steps we can take that will save families money at the pump, that will make our economy more secure, and that will help innovative companies all across America generate new products and new technologies and new jobs. 
So I’ve laid out an energy strategy that would do that.  In the short term, we need to increase safe and responsible oil production here at home to meet our current energy needs.  And even those who are proponents of shifting away from fossil fuels have to acknowledge that we’re not going to suddenly replace oil throughout the economy.  We’re going to need to produce all the oil we can.
But while we’re at it, we need to get rid of, I think, the $4 billion in subsidies we provide to oil and gas companies every year at a time when they’re earning near-record profits, and put that money toward clean energy research, which would really make a big difference.  (Applause.)
Those are all short-term solutions, though.  In the long run, we’re going to have to do more.  We’re going to have to harness the potential of startups and clean energy companies across America.  We’re going to need to build on the progress that I’ve seen in your factories, where workers are producing hybrid cars and more fuel-efficient engines and advanced electric vehicles.  We need to tap into this reservoir of innovation and enterprise. 
And that’s why we’re here today.  This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Think about that.  (Applause.)
Most of the companies here today were part of an agreement that we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years.  And the vehicles on display here are ones that benefited from that standard.  Folks buying cars like these in the next several years will end up saving more than $3,000 over time because they can go further on a gallon of gas.
And today, these outstanding companies are committing to doing a lot more.  The companies here today have endorsed our plan to continue increasing the mileage on their cars and trucks over the next 15 years.  We’ve set an aggressive target, and the companies here are stepping up to the plate. 
By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  So this is an incredible commitment that they’ve made.  And these are some pretty tough business guys.  They know their stuff.  And they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think that it was ultimately going to be good business and good for America. 
Think about what this means.  It means that filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week.  It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time.  And consumers in this country as a whole will save almost $2 trillion in fuel costs.  That’s trillion with a T.
And just as cars will go further on a gallon of gas, our economy will go further on a barrel of oil.  In the next 15 years, we’re going to reduce the amount of oil we need by 2.2 million barrels per day.  And this will help meet the goal that I’ve set for America:  reducing our dependence on foreign oil by one-third.
Using less oil also means our cars will produce fewer emissions.  So when your kids are biking around the neighborhood, they’ll be breathing less pollution and fewer toxins.  It means we’re doing more to protect our air and water.  And it means we’re reducing the carbon pollution that threatens our climate.
Lastly, these standards aren’t just about the bad things we’ll prevent; it’s about the good things that we’ll build.  As these companies look for ways to boost efficiency, they’ll be conducting research and development on test tracks.  They’re going to look to startups working on biofuels and new engine technologies.  They’re going to continue to invest in advanced battery manufacturing.  They’re going to spur growth in clean energy.  And that means new jobs in cutting-edge industries all across America.
I’ll give you a couple of examples.  There’s a company called Celgard in North Carolina that’s expanding its production line to meet demand for advanced batteries.  And they’ve hired 200 employees and they’re adding 250 more.  There’s A123, a clean-energy manufacturer in Michigan that just hired its 1,000th worker as demand has soared for its vehicle components.  Companies like these are taking root and putting people to work in every corner of the country. 
And after a very difficult time for the automotive sector in this country -- after a period of painful restructuring, with the federal government lending a helping hand to two of the Big Three American automakers -- we’re seeing growth and a rise in sales, led by vehicles using new, more fuel-efficient technologies.  And that bodes well for the future.  That tells us that these standards are going to be a win for consumers, for these companies, for our economy, for our security, and for our planet.
So we are happy to welcome all the auto companies to this effort.  But I do want to pay special tribute to the extraordinary progress of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.  It was little more than two years ago that many doubted whether these companies would still be around, much less moving forward and leading the kind of change that we’re seeing.
I also want to point out all this progress we’re talking about today -- the promise of this agreement -- it is only possible because we’ve made investments in technology.  It’s only possible because we’re willing, as a nation, to make sure that young people could afford to go to college and get engineering degrees; to make sure that we’re backing the basic research of our scientists; to make sure innovative small businesses could get the credit to open their doors and ultimately maybe be a supplier for one of these big companies.
So as we look to close the deficit, this agreement is a reminder of why it’s so important that we have a balanced approach.  We’ve got to make serious spending cuts while still investing in our future; while still investing in education and research and technology like clean energy, which are so important for our economy.
And finally, this agreement ought to serve as a valuable lesson for leaders in Washington.  This agreement was arrived at without legislation.  You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences -- these folks are competitors, you've got labor and business, but they decided, we’re going to work together to achieve something important and lasting for the country.  (Applause.) 
So when it comes to tackling the deficit, or it comes to growing the economy, when it comes to giving every American an opportunity to achieve their American Dream, the American people are demanding the same kind of resolve, the same kind of spirit of compromise, the same kind of problem solving that all these folks on stage have shown.  They’re demanding that people come together and find common ground; that we have a sensible, balanced approach that’s based on facts and evidence and us reasoning things out and figuring out how to solve problems, and asks everybody to do their part. 
That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s what this debate is all about.  That’s what the American people want.
So I want to once again thank automakers.  I want to thank workers.  I want to thank the state of California -- (applause) -- which has been -- the state of California has consistently been a leader on this issue.  I want to thank the environmental leaders and elected officials, including Leader Pelosi who is here, and the leaders here from the Michigan delegation and -- because obviously the state of Michigan has a huge stake and has been on the cutting-edge of these issues and have helped to pave the way forward.  I want to thank all of you for helping to reduce our dependence on oil, on growing the economy, and leaving for future generations a more secure and prosperous America.
So, congratulations, gentlemen.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)