Oct 12, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
For the past two days, a major conference "Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance," co-sponsored by the US Energy and Agriculture Departments. http://www.technologyforums.com/6EN/welcome.asp, has been going on in St. Louis. Speakers including PHEV advocate James Woolsey, and EnergyCS showed a prototype PHEV Prius at the event.
President Bush, as the concluding speaker; repeated views he's previously expressed.....we've excerpted only the section on PHEVs from the full text at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061012-4.html
President Bush Discusses Energy at Renewable Energy Conference St. Louis Convention Center, St. Louis, Missouri October 12, 2006
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for the warm welcome. I appreciate the chance to come and speak to the Renewable Energy Conference. I hope you're excited about being here, because I sure am. This is -- it's exciting to be with -- (applause.) I view this as kind of a meeting of pioneers, people who are on the leading edge of change, and people whose research, thought, and production will all help this country become stronger and better. And so I appreciate you giving me a chance to come by and visit with you.
This is a -- energy is a subject dear to my heart -- as it should be for any President -- because you can't grow your economy without energy. And yet, it is apparent, and should be for most Americans, we got to change our habits if we want to remain the economic leader of the world.
Before I share some of my thoughts with you, I do want to recognize members of my Cabinet who have joined you: The Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns; the Secretary of Energy, Sam Bodman; and the Administrator of the EPA, Steve Johnson.
Since I've been President, we've spent about $10 billion on research. A lot of goes through Sam's shop. He's the Energy man. (Laughter.) We will vigorously pursue new ways to power our automobiles. If you want to get off oil, the surest and quickest way to do so is to change how we power our automobiles. We consume a lot of oil, through gasoline. And the more inefficient our cars are, the more we drive old clunkers, the more gasoline we use, which means we're more dependent on oil.
And so we've got some interesting initiatives at the federal level to help change habits. One of them is, and it's probably the fastest way we can begin to change the consumer habits, is to promote hybrid vehicles. You all know what hybrids are, it's a combination of gas and -- gasoline and electric battery that gets the driver a lot more miles per gallon.
And so one way to do this -- one way to encourage people to buy hybrids, one way to stimulate demand so that the production will follow -- is to provide tax credits. You can get up to, now, $3,400 tax credit when you buy your hybrid automobile. In other words, the government is using the tax code to stimulate demand, which then should stimulate more automobile -- more production on the auto lines of hybrids. And the more hybrids we get on the road, the less oil we're going to be using.
Secondly, we're spending money on new battery technologies. See, we envision a day in which light and powerful batteries will become available in the marketplace so that you can drive the first 40 miles on electricity, on batteries, and your car won't have to look like a golf cart. (Laughter.) In other words, it will be a technology that will meet consumer demand and at the same time meet a national need, which is less consumption of gasoline. These are called plug-in hybrid vehicles.
And the battery technology is coming. In order to expedite it, Sam's shop, the Department of Energy, is putting out grants. In other words, we're using your money to expedite the arrival of a new technology that will enable folks to drive the first 40 miles on electricity.
That's not going to help rural Missouri or rural Texas, but it's certainly going to help those who live in the cities. Most folks in the cities don't drive more than 40 miles, so you can envision consumer habits beginning to change: You drive to work; you go home; you plug in your automobile. And you go -- ride to work and go home the next -- and you're still on electricity. It's going to change the consumption patterns. This new technology will change the consumption patterns on gasoline, which in turn will make us less dependent on crude oil, which meets a national security concern, an economic security concern, and helps us deal with an environmental concern.