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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!


Maybe a lot of what's been going on with gas prices the last few years has been W letting the oil companies have one last hurrah before peak oil kills all their fun and alternatives are implemented, such as bio and battery. Get all their ducks in a row before the game changes, so to speak.

Now that their saddle bags are full of gold may they ride off into the sunset.

Shaun Williams

As an outsider, the fact that this is not a GM PHEV on the White House lawns, is disturbing. From what I've read, Hybrids are considered vehicles of the Smug in the USA. I doubt there will ever be a massive uptake of PHEV's there until GM gets on board.

"It's time for The General to take charge!", for the planets sake. Other than's all good!


George writes 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 .. No because there being sued in florida for STEALING the technology . And I wish he were standing next to a tahoe hybrid.


Did anyone catch this part:
"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."

While the photo of the Commander in Chief next to a Prius was a bit startling, the battery (to enable plugin capability) was American, and so was the Phoenix Motorcars pickup.

Here's another article, w/a photo of Bush and the electric pickup.


GreenCar could have posted this photo of the Phoenix but they chose to post a Prius instead. This truck is made in LA and needs support for their effort.

They claim:
1) 95mph top speed--all electric
2) 135 miles on one charge--all electric
3) 10 minute recharge time on 440 electric
4) 12 year battery life--over 15000 inhouse labtest cycles with 85% capacity left at the end!

Awesome claims and DOE had to have checked it out BEFORE they got Phoenix in to see the President.

Wayne Brown

That is problem Shaun; for the last ten years many of us have been begging GM, Ford & Chrysler to please 'get on board.' Instead, they published propaganda & even engineering reports refuting the veracity & success of what we were asking for which ironically is the very technology they now claim to be chasing & promoting so arduously. I hope they are telling the truth this time, as they have certainly brought very little of their media touted, advanced efficiency technology to fruition over the last 7 years.

I for one am quite excited to see the President standing behind a Prius. He has for far too many years stood behind the philosophy of no peak oil, no global warming & the idea that single occupant Suburbans, Tahoes, Rams, Explorers & Expeditions on our highways is A-OK in every way. Maybe 10 years from now we will get to see a US President standing more proudly behind a Volt. Oh how I hope the Volt is not just some more GM media vapor.

Would I buy a Volt if GM made it as described today? Yes, just as quickly as I have bought my other ‘real’ hybrids & Shaun; I am well known for not being ‘Smug.’ In fact, most Prius owners I know are caring, giving people. We are a little older; 45-57 is our median age and as a lot, we are pretty well educated but, Smug? --- No, most of us simply are not.

Now as far as technology being stolen; a US citizen filed a patent in 1925 that shows basically the same technology as the Prius has; two motor-generators connected to an internal combustion engine via a planetary gear set that sets forth in its descriptions & claims many of the virtues being garnered today by the Prius & other advanced hybrid vehicles. The truth is Toyota got it to market successfully first & the rest of the players are not happy about it.

The Florida suit has almost no leg to stand on as the technology they claim is stolen is well covered in the 1925 patent. You can take a look at this patent if you like, it is US Patent 1558806 from 1925 by A.C. Hess Jr. titled "Electromechanical Power Transmission Mechanism" & it looks a whole like the GM, DaimlerChrysler, BMW ‘Dual-Mode Hybrid Technology’ system splashed across several press releases last April. Interestingly, Toyota has not brought this 1925 patent forward as a defensive piece yet in the Florida case; maybe they simply don't need to.

Harvey D.

Is GWB converted to smaller more efficient PHEVs? If so, this is a very positive move. What is he driving? We all know that PHEVs could reduce fuel consumption and GHG from personnal vehicles by 80% to 90% and may be the best (most affordable) interim solution for the next 10 to 20 years.

There is nothing wrong with GWB photo ops with an American upgraded Toyota Prius PHEV. Toyota is a major USA car maker and may even be number one in a few more years. Toyota (efficiently) builds very good, long lasting, higher efficiency vehicles.

Would like to see Harper do the same in Canada...but Tar Sands people (an politicians) would not allow it.

Stan Peterson

I am sick of pseudo-environmentalists who see conspiracies everywhere.

The electrification of the the auto and truck fleets is a hurtling onslaught that is building like an on-coming hurricane.

With half a brain they toot build the needed electric components for electric autos and trucks are already paid for and being built on a massive scale. The world's LDV industries are converting to electricity from old technology just as surely as the USA converted to war production in 1941 and 1942.

Hitler and the Axis was a going to see thousands of war machines on the battlefield in 1943 -1945. You didn't need to be a prophet to be assured that was going to happen in 1942 from happening.

GWB can think; he did earn a MBA from a prestigious school and was smart enough to be become a jet fighter pilot in spite of the propaganda from leftist know-nothings.

Unlike most of the ideological chanting and messianic fervor espoused by the watermelon greeniees led by a Divinity school flunkout who wants to have you believe his environmental apocalypse. He demands that heretics such a climate scientists who say it isn't so, should be burned at the stake like the Delaware governor has just decreed.

Any surprise shes a Dumbocrat?

Want to bet that an artist who worked hard on his documentary and merited an award, will be screwed and passed over by the leftists saying
Art be Damned.

Lets give the knot head an Oscar? Just like the same artists screwed the music artist who deserved an award to make a political statement by awarding a Grammy to the Dixie Chicks...

The reality is that LDC fleet will be transformed in less than 20 years. GHGs will plunge not to just the phony Kyoto 1990 targets, but to 1930 levels for the entire USA economy, without any other changes. Yes the LDV fleet generates that much "GHG"s.


AFAIK, all Phoenix motorcars are made in Korea.

GWB and his fellow war mongers are intelligent enough not to have personally risked anything in any of the wars that they have pumped.

Regarding the DOD or, more accurately, the War Department funding battery and PV research: If you give me a trillion dollars every year, I will gladly spend a few million on whatever you want.

PS. I am a skeptic regarding environmental apocalypse.
After much reading, I have, so far, concluded that the dissenting scientists make more sense.

PS2 Three cheers for the Dixie Chicks for refuseing to march in goose-step with all the war mongers. ----Rick Eramian


George W Bush and his cohorts have no interest in the public good. Their golden parachutes and self-sufficient getaways from the coming collapse are fully in place. For George to pose before a PHEV signals nothing but trouble ahead.

This week ABC and CBS did "in-depth" 30-sec spots on hybrids, both warning that mileage claims are false! Is it a coincidence that these national broadcasters produced defamation spots this week? I don't think so.
Did GM threaten to cut millions in TV advertizing unless they put out this BS?

Buy a big GM now! Special deals! Financing for everybody! Buy now and get a big 40" flat panel TV! Wheee!!!

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