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Sen. Clinton: Cut Oil Imports by 50% by 2025

In a speech to the National Press Club, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) called for a targeted reduction in oil consumption equivalent to 50% of imported oil by 2025—roughly equivalent to 8 million barrels per day.

Achieving that goal is feasible, she argued, based on increased use of biofuels, greater vehicle efficiency, increased use of renewables for power generation, and judicious use of clean coal, among others.

We can’t just point fingers and, sort of, place blame on anyone else: foreigners over there, oil companies over here. The ball is in our court. It is up to us to act and to act soon. It is going to require a virtual revolution in our thinking about energy and in the actions that must follow.

...we need to resist the idea that kicking the oil habit will wreck our economy. In fact, the greater risk is that we will wreck our economy by failing to kick the habit. Second, we need to discard the myth that conservation can’t play a large role in our transformation. The easiest way to reduce our dependence on oil immediately is to use less.

Now, I believe a 50 by ’25 initiative will energize our economy, not undermine it. And how will we get there? Two words: innovation and efficiency.

Clinton outlined three primary approaches:

  • Converting the liquid fuel base from oil to biomass, reducing consumption of petroleum by up to 4 million barrels per day by 2025.

  • Switch from high-carbon electricity sources to low-carbon electricity sources through innovations in renewables such as solar and wind, as well as carbon dioxide sequestration.

  • Increasing efficiency in cars, buildings, power plants and manufacturing processes for a reduction of another 4 million barrels a day. “The surest way to reduce oil consumption is through hybrid technology that increases fuel-efficiency by 30% to 40%.

To support the efforts, Clinton is introducing legislation for a $50-billion “Strategic Energy Fund”, the money for which would come from a combination of a windfall profit levy on oil companies and a repealing of their tax breaks. Oil companies that invested on their own in renewable energy would be exempt from paying into the fund.

So I support comprehensive legislation that would overhaul our energy taxes; signal the market we’re in this for the long run by extending for 10 years the production tax credit [for renewables]; spur demand by doubling consumer tax breaks for hybrids, clean diesel and other advanced vehicles; and create a new tax incentive for fleet owners to purchase more efficient vehicles; speed the development of cellulosic ethanol by providing loan guarantees for the first billion gallons of commercial production capacity; ramp up the availability of ethanol by providing gas station owners with a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of installing ethanol pumps; and then extend and increase tax incentives for homeowners and businesses who will make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient—there's a lot of good information out there abut how to do it, but unfortunately not much incentive to do it.

She proposed that over the next five years, $9 billion from the strategic energy fund flow to an advanced research project agency for energy (ARPA-E). (Earlier post.) She also proposed applying $1 billion from the strategic energy fund into research on cellulosic ethanol.

...we have to deal with coal, because we have huge resources of coal. Coal is to us what oil is to Saudi Arabia. And part of our domestic strategy must involve coal.

Clinton proposed two steps to “scale up the potential of clean coal:”

  • Undertake five large-scale tests of geologic carbon sequestration in a variety of settings to really investigate the viability of this technology.

  • Provide tax credits for carbon sequestration to encourage domestic oil production.



I think the auto and airline industries ought to consider making their own fuel. They have been depending on the oil industry for far too long.


why talk about carbon sequestoring when carbon dioxide is a useful feed gas for algae to produce fuel a la green fuel and green shift?

An Engineer

The problem with much of today's energy legislation can be summed up by these two factors:
1. It is lobbyist driven.
2. It is a farm subsidy in disguise.

Lobbyist driven legislation gives you tax incentives based on specific products (ethanol, biodiesel and TDP/TCP40).

A better approach is to define goals (reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce GHG emissions, ability to blend with existing fuel supplies, etc.) and reward inventors and producers accordingly. An "X-prize for Energy" along these lines would reward any inventor, not just those rich enough to have a lobbyist in D.C.

As far as the farm subsidy goes: Sometimes good energy policy results in more rewards to farmers. I have no problem with that. However, often it does not, such as the president's suggestion that we get rid of the tariff on imported ethanol. It is time for all our elected officials, including those from farm states, to acknowledge that good energy policy is more important than getting a few more dollars for farmers.


It is still not clear that ethanol will signicantly reduce our oil consumtion, certainly our energy consumption. It is even less clear whether or not it will significantly reduce greenhouse gases, if at all. And yet, everyone seems to be on board that we should subsidize the crap out of it. And that's not even considering the considerable subsidies that already go to the corn industry.

The problem with these massive subsidies is that it will distort the true advantages, if any, of ethanol. Better to let the market sort out whether the true cost of inputs, especially energy, render ethanol a nonviable alternative.

But then, back in the real world, the farm, agribusiness lobbies seem to have congresspersons, including Clinton by the, er, gonads.

We have all this empahasis on alternatives because it represents as ostensibly painless apprroach to getting off oil. To Hillary's credit, however, she does seem to be placing a heavy emphasis on conservation.

I fear that we will wake up one day and realize what a waste it was to give all those subsidies to ethanol. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, the planet will be toast.

Rafael Seidl

It may not be perfect, in particular it does not directly penalize the use of (large amounts of) gasoline, but it is a lot more attractive than Bush's strategy of sending the marines to fight for big oil while renewables get only crumbs.

The real question is, how many other Democrats will align themselves with Sen. Clinton's initiative. Their biggest weakness is that they aren't perceived as a coherent party.


I think that at last there is a real breakthrough here. Why? Simply because she has finaly given the democrats a distinguishing feature and that is that conservation is going to be a key part of the solution. Now, if only she could propose a carbon trading scheme.....


Has she figured in the oil use of the 50 million extra Americans from Mexico that will be here by then.

Paul h

Bush sends the Marine to fight for oil? Really?
Is that the old "Let's hang out there for 5 years, and then we will steal their oil" trick. Get real. It would have been a lot cheaper to pay off the Dems who drag their heels on creating our own oil instead of funding Viva La Chavez socialist wonderland, if that was just about getting their oil.

Every hear of Islamic Terrorism? Plus, Marcus is right, any energy plan has to included the 50-100 million illegals that will over run the US. They drive too.

An Engineer

Let's see who can get any politian (oh, captain, my captain) to understand this:
1. Food to Fuel is BAD.
2. Waste to Fuel is GOOD.


I am not a big fan of Senator Clinton nor any other politican. However, if either party really wanted to distinguish themselves, the issue of Energy would be an ideal platform. She can say whatever she wants, but what's her feelings on Nuclear or PHEVs?

Sam Podolsky

I was thrilled to read this headline.

As always, the plan is far from perfect. However the fact that it is some plan is a huge step forward. The shift from oil dependency will not be a neat and tidy process. Anybody who thinks that politicians, lobbies, business, etc. won't get involved is delusional.

It's important to recognize progress, however imperfect it may be. Because as of right now, we remain entirely dependent upon a declining resource located primarily in the most unstable portion of the world for our most basic needs. That's insane. We can certainly do better than the status quo, and we must start now.

Harvey D.

GM direct subsidies (with cheaper gas) to heavy gas guzzler owners seems to be more popular than ways to reduce fossil fuel consumption. What have we become?


Harvey D:

Not "what have we become" but what do we continue to be. Next stop, Easter Island.



"Not 'what have we become' but what do we continue to be. Next stop, Easter Island."

Excellent analogy. Spot on.


“scale up the potential of clean coal:”
Clean coal?? It's that like prostitutes for abstinence?


Easter Island is good. They built statues, we build SUVs :-))


I had a similar question. Four days ago, Hillary was one of a number of Senators and Congressmen who attended a presentation of a modified Prius (PHEV) from CalCars (and had pictures taken next to the car). I personally drove the car the week before (getting over 100 mpg myself) and I’m hooked on the approach. I tell everyone I possibly can that with existing technology, we could be vastly increasing mpg.

I don’t see how she could possibly propose a $50 billion oil reduction plan without specifically including plans for funding of PHEV’s which currently get 100+ mpg!!! Here’s the press release:

allen zheng

Clinton has her sights on one specific chair in one specific office in a house called White.

allen zheng

____Have the corn ethanol growers switch over to sweet sorghum. It will double yields from 300+ gallons/acre to 700+ gallons/acre (better net energy balance). Rotate the Soy crop as they usually do in alteranting years for their nitrogen fixing, and plant rapeseed cover crops for erosion prevention and bio-oil crop. Another thing is that Sorghum will use less water overall vs. corn, and will withstand hotter climate better.
____In the end, algae oil crops in the Southwest (barren desert, not cactus or scrub desert thus not displacing wildlife/native plants), Salton Sea, and human/animal biowaste facilities will enable energy independence. We might even become a net energy exporter (lower trade deficit). Domestically, it will replace imported oil (later on all fossil oil), then gas, then coal. We could become a net reducer of GHG.
____The cost of purchasing/converting all that land into suitable facilities could cost hundreds of billions. Where are we going to get that kind of money? Much could be built on Federal, Military, Native American, State lands. An issue is revenue sharing and the question of Private entrprise vs Public/govt. operation.

allen zheng

...hundreds of billions of dollars.


Oh, dear God. Not the ghost of Easter Island again.

JD, you've left us too soon.

Thomas Pedersen

I second that, Mel


Bud Johns

We are gratefull for the wisdom of the Hildabeast........


Maureen Dowd in NYT opines that Hillary is trying to outgreen and outwonk Gore to preempt any bid he might think of making for his second election to the Presidency.

Oh well. The more the merrier. Hill is up to speed and can now wax wonkishly with the best of them at GC Congress.

Although I don't think she goes far enough, at least maybe now the mainstream debate can now be about energy and global warming instead of gay marriage and abortion. One can only hope.


Another thought. Those of you interested in ethanol should saunter over to "The Oil Drum" and check out Robert Rapier's analysis of ethanol. His analysis shows that ethanol is a total non-starter. Those of you who are ethanol proponents should feel free to try to refute his analysis. In fact, you have a duty to do that since none of the comments so far have a problem with Rapier's analysis.

If Rapier's analysis is even close to correct, we should stop any and all ethanol programs and subsidies forthwith. Hillary may be as clueless as all the other politicians.

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