U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to autoworkers at the Daimler Trucks North America Freightliner plant in Mount Holly, N.C., March 7, 2012. UPI/Nell Redmond . | License Photo
WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama Saturday called higher gasoline prices "another painful reminder" of why the United States must invest in new energy technology.
In his weekly radio and Internet address -- recorded during his visit this week to a factory in Petersburg, Va. -- the president noted the factory is hiring workers to build parts for "the next generation of jet engines."
"It's a story that's happening more frequently across the country," he said.
"More companies are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America," Obama said. "Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, and we're building more things to sell to the rest of the world stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
"And it's not just that we're building stuff," the president said. "We're building better stuff. The engine parts manufactured here in Petersburg will go into next-generation planes that are lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient."
He said technology that "helps us get more miles to the gallon is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology," Obama said. "As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for two-dollar gas: drill, drill, and drill some more. Well, my response is, we have been drilling. Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high. We've quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling."
However, the president said the United States "can't just drill our way to lower gas prices."
"We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy -- solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more."
Obama said cars that will average 55 miles per gallon "aren't some pie-in-the-sky solution that's years away" but will be on the market "in the middle of the next decade."
"Right now, some folks in Washington would rather spend another $4 billion on subsidies to oil companies each year," he said. "Well you know what? We've been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century. And outside of Congress, does anyone really think that's still a good idea? I want this Congress to stop the giveaways to an oil industry that's never been more profitable, and invest in a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."