So there’s no reason we shouldn’t be using these renewable fuels throughout America. That’s why we’re investing in things like fueling stations and research into the next generation of biofuels. Over the next two years, we’ll help entrepreneurs break ground on four next-generation biorefineries – each with a capacity of more than 20 million gallons per year. And going forward, we should look for ways to reform biofuels incentives to make sure they meet today’s challenges and save taxpayers money.
As we replace oil with fuels like natural gas and biofuels, we can also reduce our dependence by making cars and trucks that use less oil in the first place. After all, 70 percent of our petroleum consumption goes to transportation. And so does the second biggest chunk of most families’ budgets. That’s why one of the best ways to make our economy less dependent on oil and save folks more money is simply to make our transportation more efficient.
Last year, we established a groundbreaking national fuel efficiency standard for cars and trucks. Our cars will get better gas mileage, saving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program. Our consumers will save money from fewer trips to the pump – $3,000 on average over time. And our automakers will build more innovative products. Right now, there are even cars rolling off assembly lines in Detroit with combustion engines that can get more than 50 miles per gallon.
Going forward, we’ll continue working with automakers, autoworkers and states to ensure that the high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks of tomorrow are built right here in America. This summer, we’ll propose the first-ever fuel efficiency standard for heavy-duty trucks. And this fall, we’ll announce the next round of fuel standards for cars that builds on what we’ve done.
To achieve our oil goal, the federal government will lead by example. The fleet of cars and trucks we use in the federal government is one of the largest in the country. That’s why we’ve already doubled the number of alternative vehicles in the federal fleet, and that’s why, today, I am directing agencies to purchase 100% alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric vehicles by 2015. And going forward, we’ll partner with private companies that want to upgrade their large fleets.
We’ve also made historic investments in high-speed rail and mass transit, because part of making our transportation sector cleaner and more efficient involves offering Americans – urban, suburban, and rural – the choice to be mobile without having to get in a car and pay for gas.
Still, there are few breakthroughs as promising for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing our dependence on oil as electric vehicles. Soon after I took office, I set a goal to have one million electric vehicles on our roads by 2015. We’ve created incentives for American companies to develop these vehicles, and for Americans who want to buy them. New manufacturing plants are opening over the next few years. And a modest, $2 billion investment in competitive grants for companies to develop the next generation of batteries for these cars has jumpstarted a big new American industry. Soon, America will be home to 40 percent of global manufacturing capacity for these batteries. And that means jobs. But to make sure we stay on the road to this goal, we need to do more – by offering more powerful incentives to consumers, and by rewarding the communities that pave the way for adoption of these vehicles.
Now, the thing about electric cars is that, well, they run on electricity. And even if we reduce our oil dependency, a smart, comprehensive energy policy requires that we change the way we generate electricity in America – so that it’s cleaner, safer, and healthier. And by the way – we also know that ushering in a clean energy economy has the potential to create an untold number of new jobs and new businesses – jobs that we want right here in America.
Part of this change comes from wasting less energy. Today, our homes and businesses consume 40 percent of the energy we use, costing us billions in energy bills. Manufacturers that require large amounts of energy to make their products are challenged by rising energy costs. That’s why we’ve proposed new programs to help Americans upgrade their homes and businesses and plants with new, energy-efficient building materials like lighting, windows, heating and cooling – investments that will save consumers and business owners tens of billions of dollars a year, free up money for investment and hiring, and create jobs for workers and contractors.
And just like the fuels we use, we also have to find cleaner, renewable sources of electricity. Today, about two-fifths of our electricity comes from clean energy sources. But I know that we can do better than that. In fact, I think that with the right incentives in place, we can double it. That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called for a new Clean Energy Standard for America: by 2035, 80 percent of our electricity will come from an array of clean energy sources, from renewables like wind and solar to efficient natural gas to clean coal and nuclear power.