Obama, in his annual address to U.S. lawmakers reached out in a bipartisan fashion, calling for a move on clean energy similar to that of the race to space with the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s.
"We're telling America's scientists and engineers that, if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time," he said.
He said that with the right incentives, the U.S. economy can move away from oil and become the first nation in the world to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015.
By 2035, he added, 80 percent of all of the electricity consumed in the United States could come from clean energy.
To meet this goal, the U.S. president said, lawmakers needed to reach across the aisle to tackle American energy challenges collectively.
"So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's," he said.