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President Bush Promotes Goal of 20% Reduction in Gasoline Use; Focuses on Cellulosic Ethanol, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

POTUS meets a PHEV, complete with cord. Click to enlarge. Also on display was a Phoenix Motorcars electric SUT. White House photo by Paul Morse.

Over the past two days, President Bush promoted the goal of reducing US consumption of gasoline by 20% with a visit to Novozymes in North Carolina to discuss cellulosic ethanol and with a White House meeting with a small group of alternative fuel entrepreneurs and scientists and display of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the White House lawn.

During his State of the Union Address 2007 in January, the President had called for reducing gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years, thereby marking a 10% reduction in total petroleum consumption.

The majority of the projected reduction—15%—is to come from a rapid increase in the use of biofuels, and President Bush called for a 35 billion gallon renewable fuels standard by 2017 to support that. The other 5% reduction is to come from increasing CAFE standards for cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.)

I also met with some of our scientists who are working on new battery technology. I also met with people that are working to help us develop a fuel industry that will be able to have ethanol derived from produce other than corn. In other words, I’m talking with people on the leading edge of change. And the reason why I’ve asked them to come in to see me is because I want to make sure that the goal I set by reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent over a 10-year period is a realistic goal. I know it’s a necessary goal: it’s necessary for national security purposes; it’s necessary for economic security purposes; and it’s necessary in order to be good stewards of the environment.

My question is, is it a practical goal, can we achieve that goal. And the answer is, absolutely. Now, it’s going to require continued federal research dollars, and I call upon the Congress to fully fund my request for alternative sources of energy. It’s going to require collaboration between the public sector and the private sector. It’s going to require making sure our smartest scientists understand that this is a national priority. But I firmly believe that the goal I laid out, that Americans will use 20 percent less gasoline over the next 10 years is going to be achieved, and here’s living proof of how we’re going to get there.

—President Bush, after his PHEV and EV meeting

On Thursday, the White House organized an interactive panel at Novozymes in North Carolina—led by the President—with researchers and representatives from Novozymes, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, North Carolina State, the University of Georgia in Athens and the Chief Operating Officer of a local biofuels company, Agri-Ethanol. [Full transcript here.]

The purpose was to give everybody a sense of where a lot of smart people and good capital are moving. Smart people are here working on some amazing technologies that—you know, that I believe 10 years from now people will say, gosh, it’s interesting that they were worried about this particular technology coming to fruition, because it’s coming to fruition. And the role of the government is to stimulate thought and investment and set goals. And we set a big goal, really have—eduction of gasoline by 20% over the next 10 years.

...Part of it is to change our CAFE standards on automobiles, which will encourage conservation. The other part is to change the fuel—fuel mix across America.

—President Bush

The Friday display of a Prius converted to a plug-in with an A123Systems li-ion battery pack and the Phoenix Motorcars all-electric Sports Utility Truck on the White House South Lawn followed a one-hour private meeting.


Bud Johns

Government does not need to interfere with technology. OK, they can set standards that must be met. I must be optomistic, but I feel like the 20% improvement will be blown away by a considerable margin! Just wait for the next gen toyota system..........

Paul Dietz

Government does not need to interfere with technology

They need to adjust the price signals to reflect externalities. The free market cannot do that by itself.


One of the biggest changes we have seen is because of the increase in the cost of fuel.
Raise the tax on gas, fund conservation and alternative fuels research and enforce a percentage of Biofuels across the nation. B20, E10. Incremental changes in 5 years.


You know I read this and i see these chaps with W and I gotta think they must be pinching themselves. To think a few years ago they were exciting pipe dreams and now there they are commanding W's full attention......enough to have them sent to the WH. I thinks it's great. Apparently the guy (President Bush) is all over this stuff from what little I've read, asks about batt technology progress frequently.
Who'd a thunk it a couple years ago.


Imagine if the DOD was building batteiers instead of bombs, how much more effectively we would be fighting terrorism. We could build wind farms to generate about 10% of our total current electrical consumption, and we could build nukes to generate 50% of our total current electrical consumption, and we could power our plug-in hybrids without emitting green house gases. But instead we have photo ops on the white house lawn.


Bush is interested in batteries for the same reason he was interested in h2 a MUCH better car.


I want to puke when I see my president next to a prius..


They are. DOD (esp. DARPA) is still spending - albeit a bit less - billions on technology. They include 50+% efficiency photovoltaics, SOFC's, hybrid powertrains, advanced chemistry/nanotechnology, advanced aircraft design, next generation turbine engines, as well as dozens of other projects.


I watched a representative from the oil industry on CSPAN the other day and he said we need to slow down and make sure that the solution(s) we implement for alternative energy will be viable over the long run. My interpretation: the longer we wait, the more profit Big Oil makes and the longer their subsidies stay in place. Big Oil only looks out for Big Oil; they see the immediate implementation of alternative energies as a threat to their continuing control of the U.S. Energy Business and they will work hard to continue control; Lobbying, Lying and Lapping up patents.


"The other 5% reduction is to come from increasing CAFE standards for cars and light trucks."

Isn't this the same guy who LOWERED the CAFE standards a few years ago?


Yeah, let's just pour money into finding ways of substituting gasoline for other fuels, rather than actually reducing our relative consumption by imposing stricter mileage restrictions on new vehicles and by funding public transportation development and initiatives.

He's halfway there. He's missing the more important part of the equation though. Let's hope the Dems figure it out in 2 years.


The other 5% reduction is to come from increasing CAFE standards for cars and light trucks.

Oh My God, what kind of collectivist thinking is this?! We will all die in hideous collisions between 18 wheelers and our new tiny rollerskate-like cars! I am quite certain that this will destroy our economy.


wake1 writes: I want to puke when I see my president next to a prius..

Why is that? Is it because a super macho guy like him should be standing next to a Hummer H1? Or are you appalled that a symbol of our nation is standing next to a symbol of the vision and engineering skill of the Japanese, next to which our dying auto industry does not look good? Or do you just want to puke when you see him standing next to anything?


I must admit its the most bizzarre photo I have seen this year, Bush standing next to a Prius! Strange that Gm were not there with any of their new projects on show !

Paul Berg, Sweden, Västerås

I will only believe President Bush comittment when he puts his money where his mouth is!

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