Aug 21, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Senator Obama sponsored the legislation providing $40M for development for flexible-fuel PHEV and other ultra-high MPG vehicles
(see http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/102 )
I'm sure his office would like to hear from people (especially but not only from Illinois) who are happy he's taking the lead in promoting PHEVs. You can reach him at http://obama.senate.gov/contact/
Obama calls for reducing gas usage
LINDA N. WELLER , The Telegraph (Riverbend region, Illinois)
GODFREY -- The state's newest U.S. senator charmed supporters and others Tuesday as he flashed a broad grin, joked, paced back and forth and motioned with sweeping arm gestures at his 28th town hall meeting.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, 44, kept his promise that he would answer any questions that some of the 450 people tossed his way in the Commons area of the McPike Math and Science Complex at Lewis and Clark Community College.
For 45 minutes, the questions and comments came -- from health care costs, the No Child Left Behind school legislation and child care issues to the more predictable escalating gasoline prices and the war in Iraq.
"What are the chances the president might release the oil reserves?" asked Jonathon Forbes of Alton, in light of high gasoline prices.
Obama, though, said he does not think the oil stores should be opened now.
"Everybody is getting killed by gas prices," he said. "If there is a general emergency -- like if the Saudi Arabian monarchy is overthrown and they cut off our oil supply -- you wouldn't be looking at $3 gas, but $8 gas, and our economy would be threatened."
Obama said there is no short-term solution for the high prices.
"There is a long-term solution, but people may not want to hear it: People need to cut back," he said. "Three percent of the world's population is consuming 25 percent of the energy," particularly by driving large trucks and sport utility vehicles.
"There is a finite supply, and the demand is going up through the roof," Obama said. "In China and India, there are three billion people who don't have a car yet, and they want to buy one."
He launched into a favorite subject: energy-efficient cars. He said people could get 200 to 250 miles per gallon by driving a plug-in hybrid car, but "Detroit has not been producing those cars.
"We're going to have to do something about technology to improve fuel efficiency," he said. Obama serves on three Senate committees, including the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Obama touted the recently signed comprehensive energy bill, designed to increase use of ethanol and availability of stations that sell E85 fuel, which is 85 percent corn ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
"E85 is cheaper, when you can find it, by about 50 cents a gallon," he said. "The problem is no filling stations to fill up."
Obama, who was sworn into office Jan. 4, also held town hall meetings Tuesday in Carrollton, Pittsfield and Jacksonville.
"My basic philosophy is that there is a danger when people get elected to Washington, they represent Washington to the constituents instead of representing the constituents to Washington," the state's junior U.S. senator said.
He said the meetings keep him from viewing "narrow slices" of public opinion.
One woman from St. Louis said she would vote for Obama for president.
Predictably, a contingent of local and Madison County politicians and officeholders were among the crowd. Alderwomen Barbara Jurgena-Stamer, 1st Ward, and Jeannette Mallon, 4th Ward, of the Edwardsville City Council, attended the meeting.
Jurgena-Stamer said she liked Obama's comments about representing the constituents in Washington instead of the opposite.