Speaking to a crowd of several hundred at the Daimler truck manufacturing plant in Mount Holly with North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue in attendance, Obama said the United States must develop every resource at its disposal if it is going to control its energy future.
"We've got to develop every source of American energy -- not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels," Obama said. "We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That's the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down. It's pretty straightforward. That's the only solution to this challenge."
Anticipating the attacks he'll face in his re-election bid, Obama told listeners to be wary of candidates who promise $2-per-gallon gas.
"Since I took office, America's dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. In fact, in 2010, it went under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years," Obama said.
"Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than any time in the last eight years. Under my administration, we've quadrupled the number of operating oilrigs to a record high. We've got more oilrigs operating now than we've ever seen. We've opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration. We've approved more than 400 drilling permits that follow new safety standards after we had that mess down in the gulf."
Obama said instability in the Middle East and growing demand in China, India and Brazil are the main culprits in recent gas price spikes. He said reducing use and increasing fuel efficiency is the way to bring prices down.
"After three decades of not doing anything, we got together with the oil companies, we got together with the unions, we got together with folks who usually do not see eye to eye, and we negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That's nearly double what they get today -- nearly double. …
"Pretty soon you'll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -- and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.
Obama also called on Congress to end all subsidies for oil companies.
"We should put every member of Congress on record: They can stand up for the oil companies or they can stand up for the American people and this new energy future," he said.
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