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.