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Obama Lays Out Plan to Reduce Our Dependence on Foreign Oil

During a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, Barack Obama today proposed a plan to change the cars we drive and the fuels we use in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fight the cause of global climate change. By 2020, Obama's plan will cut our oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels of oil per day; take 50 million cars' worth of pollution off the road; save more than $50 billion at the gas pump; and help the auto industry save millions of jobs and regain its competitive footing in the world.

Barack Obama's plan focuses on three key components:

1. Fuel Economy Standards: Despite tremendous technological innovation in the auto industry, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars have been held hostage to ideological battles in Washington for 20 years. Barack Obama introduced a bold new plan, bringing together long-time opponents to gradually increase fuel economy standards while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers. Obama's plan would establish a target of four percent increase each year - unless the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proves the increase is technologically unachievable, hurts safety, or is not cost-effective. If the target is met for ten years, Obama's plan will save 1.3 million barrels of oil per day and 20 billion gallons of gasoline per year.

2. Help for Consumers: Under current law, tax credits are available for consumers who buy hybrids-but only if they buy one of the first 60,000 ultra-efficient vehicles produced by a given manufacturer. Barack Obama would lift the 60,000-per-manufacturer cap on buyer tax credits to allow more Americans to buy ultra-efficient vehicles.

3. Help for Manufacturers: U.S. automakers are facing retiree health costs that add $1,500 to the cost of every GM car. They are struggling to afford investments in hybrid technology. Obama would encourage automakers to make fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles by helping the companies shoulder the health care costs of their retirees. Domestic automakers will get health care assistance in exchange for investing 50 percent of the savings into technology to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. In addition, Obama would provide automakers with generous tax incentives for retooling assembly plants.

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