U.S. President Barack Obama at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., March 15, 2013. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo
WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday America must "get off of oil for good" and urged Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund energy research.
In his weekly radio and Internet address -- recorded Friday at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, where he spoke Friday about the proposal -- the president said the United States is "poised to take control of our energy future."
"We produce more oil than we have in 15 years," he said. "We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We've doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar -- with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it."
Obama said the United States is producing record levels of natural gas, "with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it," while his administration has supported the first new nuclear power plant "since the 1970s," and said carbon pollution is at a nearly 20-year low.
However, the president said recent annual spikes in gasoline prices are "a serious blow to your budget -- like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket."
"But the only way we're going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good," he said. "That's why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal."
Obama said the fund would use revenues from energy extracted from publicly owned lands and waters for "research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit." He noted the idea originated in a proposal by a non-partisan coalition of chief executive officers and retired military officers.
"So let's take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all," he said.