Obama Calls for 1M Plug-ins on US Roads by 2015
04 August 2008
In a speech in Lansing, Michigan, Senator Barack Obama outlined a broad energy plan that included a number of policy elements specifically related to transportation and fuel, among them the goal of putting 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on US roads by 2015. (Conventional hybrids, which appeared on the US market in 1999, passed the one-million sales mark in 2007. Earlier post.)
As part of the focus on plug-in, Obama’s plan calls for offering consumers a $7,000 tax credit for the purchase of such advanced technology vehicles as well as conversion tax credits; for converting the entire White House fleet to plug-ins “as security permits” within a year of an Obama Administration coming to office; and committing to requiring half of all cars purchased by the federal government be plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles by 2012.
The plan calls for further investments in advanced vehicle technology with a specific focus on R&D in advanced battery technology. The increased federal funding will leverage private sector funds and support domestic automakers in bringing plug-ins and other advanced vehicles to market.
Other transportation and fuel elements in the Lansing plan include:
Increase fuel economy standards 4% per year.
Provide $4 billion in retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to support their manufacture of the new fuel-efficient cars.
Mandate all new vehicles to be flex-fuel vehicles.
Develop next generation biofuels and the required infrastructure, and require at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2030.
Establish a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will require fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5% within 5 years and 10% within 10 years.
The plan also calls for:
Releasing light crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and “replacing it later with heavier crude more suited to our long-term needs.”
A windfall profit tax on oil companies to fund an immediate $500 redistribution for an individual and $1,000 for a married couple.
A cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions targeted at delivering an 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
Implement a “use it or lose it” policy on oil and gas leases.
Provide incentives for using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.
Require 10% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012.
Develop and deploy clean coal technology.
Address key issues prior to an expansion of nuclear power.
Invest in a smart grid.
I don't think this
"Releasing light crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and “replacing it later with heavier crude more suited to our long-term needs.”
is a good idea at all. Obama needs to have a little chat with Matt Simmons...
Posted by: marcus | 04 August 2008 at 05:39 PM
@ marcus: I agree.
As for tax credits -BAD IDEA. Do hundreds of gazillion dollar X Prizes - do DARPA Challenges; don't lift up an industry on the wooden blocks of tax credits which once removed, will slam the industry back down to where it was in the first place. Tax credits won't spur competition the way X Prizes and DARPA Challenges will.
Posted by: ejj | 04 August 2008 at 06:28 PM
Wow. A huge chunk of this is right out of the Rocky Mountain Institute "Winning the Oil Endgame" playbook.
Good stuff. Well, except for the blatant pandering to oil companies that needs to be done to get enough (R) congresscritters to vote for it. That's a small price to pay for the long term benefits though.
Posted by: rob | 04 August 2008 at 06:31 PM
I wonder what McCain's lame response to this one will be?
Posted by: Chris | 04 August 2008 at 06:43 PM
My guess; equally lame.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 04 August 2008 at 07:13 PM
This is an awesome plan. If it costs us $4B for the US auto mfrs to get on board so be it.
McCain's response will be Drill More, Burn More.
Posted by: VaPrius | 04 August 2008 at 07:16 PM
Ah, the $1000 money back from Big Oil will hit the spot nicely. Thanks!
Posted by: Lulu | 04 August 2008 at 09:20 PM
Renewable is a magic word that no one knows much about, but it is beatiful because it allows the massive deforesting and denuding of land to put in corn and other "energy" crops.
It also allows the massive flooding of vast areas of productive farm and forest lands and exposes the populace to catastrophic dam failures that have taken far more lives since the begin of the nuclear power era than Chernobyl did. The organic materials that flow into the dams will decompose to massive amounts of the green house gas methane.
Much hydro-power is not renewable because the dams will silt up in a few hundred years. Wind energy takes up so much space that it will not be allowed in many locations and has very high capital costs. The maintenance costs are high as well. The hidden cost of windpower, that most people don't see, is the cost of providing alternate power when the wind is not blowing. This means that a gas-engine or gas-turbine or coal fired generator or hydroelectric plant must be waiting unused in case the wind does not blow. Heavy duty under sea cables from Norway's hydroelectric system to Denmark are what allows Denmark to have so many windmills. At times the excess power from the wind had to be sold at a loss.
The prepared uranium fuel costs for nuclear power are so low,($0.50 nuclear-$18.00 crude oil) that it almost does not pay for the difficulty of operating a nuclear power plant at less than full load and they cannot be operated at very low loads.
Carlo Rubbia's Energy Amplifier can have such a low fuel cost that it is not needed to be considered, and the electricity still costs less than when coal is used. The EA does not require a high pressure reactor vessel or any other parts that cannot be made in the US. The EA can burn all of the US's stockpiles of used fuel rods and get the 98% of the energy still left in them,"waste?". The US has already in operation a NEUTRON generator of the right voltage and kind for an EA but the power has to be scaled up by a factor of ten. There is not any operating fusion reactor that can be scaled up for fusion power.
The initial high CO2 energy input of solar cells and even perhaps wind mills may, if maintenance and operation costs, including backup cost for both wind and solar, are added, make them less renewable than nuclear. If nuclear power is available, there will never be an actual net return on investment for any solar cell installation. Considering the requirement for backup power, there will also never be an actual return on investment for wind power if nuclear power is available. For each kilowatt hour generated, nuclear power plants require far less land and investment than either solar cells or wind. Maintenance costs and operating costs for wind and solar are not known because the back-up maintenance and operating costs are not included.
There are places in the world where wind and solar power are the lowest cost options, but these are not in highly populated countries with electric grids.
Because nuclear power plants can be built in a submarine it is obvious that small nuclear powerplants can exist. The Soviet union actually put nuclear fission reactors into orbit for power. The US has several space vehicles equipped with Isotope power or heat sources including the Mars rovers with a few grams of Plutonium 238. There was a small reactor for heat and electicity in the Antartic for a while, and it is false economy, ecology and thinking not to have one at the South Pole instead of shipping tons of diesel. There do not seem to even be any wind-turbines at the south pole.
Small factory built nuclear power stations could be moved and installed in a few weeks, and some can have totally automatic operation for periods of years. Large FARMS of these small reactors are an alternative to single big ones.
Uranium is abundant enough in sea water for millions of years of operation after the used fuel rods have provided hundreds of years of operation, and the mineral uranium and thorium gives tens of thousands of years of operation.
It is a waste of public monies to support any kind of energy developments other than building proven nuclear power plants. CANDU reactors are the most safe because the majority of the reactor is water held at nearly room temperature. These reactors can be built by existing US facilities and even can use the used fuel rods now in storage at US reactors if they are just cut to size and formed into new bundles. The use of these bundles will give more energy from "waste" than the standard CANDU fuel. It is a little more inconvenient to handle these bundles because they are more radioactive and cannot be held in the hands like standard new bundles. New and re-used fuel bundles are equally radio-active after a few weeks in operation.
What is actually needed is a requirement that the population of the US be reduced, and this is happening through high energy costs and higher food costs when the younger and older populations can no longer get enough food.
High import duties on oil are needed as well as high export duties on any form of energy. Any oil or oil products that have been purchased for speculation and are being resold should have a 100% penalty put upon the seller.
The failure of the Government to allow offshore drilling send the message, "Speculate on oil prices all you want we will keep limiting the production and allow other to limit it no matter how much we have to pay! Make all the money you want. You paid the lobbyists and election funds well.". Speculation not production is the cause of high oil prices and lack of supply. What makes you sure that oil companies and countries have not put the massive profits into speculation just to raise prices without obviously lowering production. ..HG..
Posted by: Henry Gibson | 04 August 2008 at 09:34 PM
Sí se puede!
Posted by: Levi Cohen | 04 August 2008 at 10:56 PM
LEAP – LOCALIZED ENERGY ADVANCEMENT PLAN
(1) Southern California Edison (SCE) is leasing commercial rooftops and installing solar panels on them to feed the local grid in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. This is the very best bang for the buck. Look at the advantages: No land is used. No transmission lines need to be built. No waiting 4 to 5 years to build them. No power loss to transmit electricity long distances to where it is consumed. The power is fed directly into neighborhood grids. No need to shell out big bucks to upgrade the National Grid which would drive your electric bill higher. Take every city where there is enough cost effective sunshine, and do the same. Cover all commercial rooftops with solar panels. Then do schools, colleges, hospitals, government buildings, and residential rooftops, either leased by the local power company or installed by the owner. This is LOCALIZED electric power generation.
(2) Pass a “Uniform Net Metering Act” to guarantee that anyone generating surplus electric power will be paid at least the going wholesale rate for it by local power companies. Some power companies already have variations of net metering, but many do not. The impact will be that solar, wind, biogas to electric, and other home and business power systems will be installed larger than they need to be, thus adding peak load and generating surplus power to the local grid and also creating quarterly revenue for the private owner.
(3) Massive installation of solar roof panels on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, cars and trucks, including long haul trailer roofs. Theses would interface with localized V2G parking systems that would either charge the vehicle or produce peak load power for the grid while parked. The vehicle owners local electric power account would be electronically debited or credited accordingly. Solar roofed vehicles in mass, parked in the sun all day long, would generate a sizeable amount of peak load power, which would generate energy credits or even revenue for the vehicle owner. This combined with the rapid development of next generation translucent solarvoltaic window panels and entire vehicle bodies covered with hi-tech solar paint, with long haul trailers generating a significant amount of solar power. Again, no land or transmission lines needed and no National Grid needed. (Cost per mile: ELECTRIC way is cheaper: 7 to 1 over gasoline and 7 to 2 over natural gas as auto fuel.)
(4) Advanced, super-organized recycling systems to channel all local organic waste from homes, commercial buildings, restaurants, institutions, government offices, agricultural, food processing, wood working, building industry, municipal sewage and landfill, etc. into forms of localized energy production, such as biogas methane. With the fuel burned as natural gas for the local grid, and the exhaust and the nitrogen-phosphorous liquid effluent mitigated and fed to adjacent Algae production systems. With the oil in the algae made into locally produced biodeisel; the byproduct algae starch made into locally consumed ethanol; and the protein made into locally consumed animal feeds.
(5) The mitigation and exploitation of all sources of sewage and manure from septic systems, dairy farms, poultry, and livestock operations into biogas digesters producing methane to generate electric power for local grids and surplus regional transmission. With the effluent again being used to feed adjacent algae production for additional power, liquid fuels, or animal feed.
(6) The mitigation and exploitation of all existing fossil fuel and biomass burn power plants by the cycling of CO2 rich exhaust to feed adjacent algae production, with the potential to co-fire all or part of the algae as onsite power plant fuel, in the form of combustible ultrasound fractionated oil-rich algae slurry, to replace a portion of the conventional fuel being consumed by the power plants.
(7) The mitigation and exploitation of all existing corn ethanol refineries, by leveraging the waste products of CO2, waste heat, waste water effluent, natural gas exhaust (or other onsite exhaust), to feed adjacent algae production: To create feedstock for biodeisel, providing localized fuel for agriculture. To generate biogas to replace natural gas or to replace whatever fuel was being used for plant production power. To cogenerate electric power for the local grid. Thereby generating additional waste heat for the algae. With the option to produce additional ethanol from algae starch, and or high protein algae animal feed, to parallel and enhance the existing distillers grains market. These algae products, produced in whatever proportion would be advantageous to supply local and regional markets.
Again, the emphasis is on localized electric power production, localized liquid fuel production, and localized animal feed production, mitigating and exploiting waste products into value added algae based fuels and feeds.
(8) Consistent long term tax credits for renewables such as solar, wind, wave, geothermal, biomass and biogas to electric, and hydrogen and clean fuels to electric, etc.
(9) Fast Tracking the award winning clean burning multi-fueled GREEN REVOLUTION ENGINE. This engine can burn any liquid or gaseous fuel, including hydrous ethanol, powdered biomass, and ultrasound fractionated oil-rich algae slurry (with any exhaust recycled to grow more algae).
(10) Fast Tracking hydrogen on demand water splitting, onboard the moving vehicle, using Ultrasound and or Pulsed Width Modulation current, generated by conventional vehicle electric systems and vehicle solar roof panels. QuantumSphere recently announced a breakthrough that increases hydrogen gas output in electrolysis systems by 300%, at 85% efficiency.
(11) Fast Tracking the ultra clean GEET Fuel Processor that runs existing internal combustion engines and gensets on vaporized mixtures of 75% water and any combustible fuel. This includes oil rich ultrasound fractionated algae slurry and powdered biomass slurry. Search: GEET Fuel Processor. Search: BingoFuel (one word).
Posted by: Jeff Baker | 04 August 2008 at 11:04 PM
@ henry gibson: http://bioage.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/08/03/land.png
I just don't share your negative views about biofuels, particularly when you think about the ceres illustration. As for nuclear, your reasoning makes a lot of sense - except when you start thinking about terrorism. The last thing we need is mass numbers of semi-truck nuke plants moving around the world with Timothy McVieghs and suicide bombers we have throughout the world. I'd rather have a much smaller number of massive nuke facilities armed to the teeth with security.
Posted by: ejj | 04 August 2008 at 11:19 PM
BO. Goal of putting 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on US roads by 2015. TT. Goals are motherhood. Like going to mars or the hydrogen economy. But I assume it will be cost evaluated not just an emotional decision by congress. Look out for Chinese battery speculators.
BO. $7,000 tax credit and conversion tax credits for such vehicles as well as; for converting the entire White House fleet to plug-ins and ½ of cars purchased by the government be electric 2012. TT. Easy to say; I assume it will be based on cost vs. benefits not just emotion.
BO. Increase fuel economy standards 4% per year. TT. OK. Like it or not this is specific and controversial (not motherhood). The market seems too slow.
BO. Provide $4 billion in retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to support their manufacture of the new fuel-efficient cars. TT. Fine but GM alone lost 12 billion – in one quarter. The 4 % /year economy standards and the slow economy and the lack of truck sales will eat this %4M for a breath mint.
BO. Mandate all new vehicles to be flex-fuel vehicles. TT. OK. Like it or not this is specific and controversial (not motherhood). And the market seems too slow. But all mandates (like the 4 % /year economy increase) risk doing more harm.
BO. Develop next generation biofuels and the required infrastructure, and require at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2030. TT. Require? Put national guard troops on farms?
BO. Establish a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will require fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5% within 5 years and 10% within 10 years. TT. Does “ .. to begin to reduce the carbon” mean the same as “ .. to reduce the carbon”? No. Lawyer/politician talk.
BO. Releasing light crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and “replacing it later with heavier crude more suited to our long-term needs.” TT. Why burn more (of our own) fossil fuel now and import more later. This is better than drilling?
BO. A windfall profit tax on oil companies to fund an immediate $500 redistribution for an individual and $1,000 for a married couple. TT. Won’t fly, but appeals to the bitter green anarchists. Americans know it is basically unjust to penalize those who invested wisely (or got lucky) and who reap the reward. Next will they make Prius owners pay a windfall savings tax and give SUV drivers 50 cents a gallon?
BO. A cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions targeted at delivering an 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. TT. Sounds OK to me. Targeted is like “we would like”. Like going to mars or creating a hydrogen economy? LAME.
BO. Implement a “use it or lose it” policy on oil and gas leases. TT. Sure take away oil rights unless they spend money “wildcatting”. Does this accomplish something or just punish big oil for spite? Does this appeal to his bitter supporters?
BO. Provide incentives for using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. TT. How much? 3 cents a ton? 20k$ a ton? Depends on the audience. Not even lame it’s lawyer/politician talk
BO. Require 10% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012. Only 10%? Not until 2012? That would happen (well almost) with Bush in the white house! LAME.
BO. Develop and deploy clean coal technology. TT. ALL RIGHT - Pure sweet motherhood. When? How? Not up to minimum LAME standards - it’s just lawyer/politician talk
BO. Address key issues prior to an expansion of nuclear power. TT. Like address and expand? Address and not expand? Yes! Whichever one you want to hear, that’s what it means. Empty lawyer/politician talk
BO. Invest in a smart grid. TT. How? When? Funded by? LAME.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 04 August 2008 at 11:33 PM
The Apollo speach !
If Obama becomes president this will be remembered as his Apollo speach. If USA takes the leadership as he intends, it will break OPECs grip over the western world.
Posted by: Stefan Fahlander | 05 August 2008 at 12:39 AM
Obama’s proposal goes further than that of McCain’s vision and it is definitely greener. In my opinion it is very clever and to the point. However, at first I was extremely disappointed about Obama’s proposal to sell out of the strategic reserves. It is almost unpatriotic because these reserves are part of the infrastructure that protects the US from the effects of wars and natural disasters. The last thing the world need is an unpatriotic US president. However, the details of Obama’s proposal reveal that it is inconsequential and really just a media stunt. It only proposes to replace 70 million barrels of sweet crude with 70 million barrels of heavy crude. Those 70 million barrels are just 3.5 days of US consumption. It does not matter at all and they can be replaced with heavy crude quickly. To conclude, this is a good plan and it does not play hazard with America’s security. On the contrary, it will strengthen it very much in the long-run.
Posted by: Henrik | 05 August 2008 at 04:32 AM
I think the Military uses heavier grade of fuel, and with more hybrid cars on the street means lower gasoline consumption. The strategic petroleum reserve should be shifted to a more heavy crude balance, and that will generate an useful short term effect - a lower gas price during this economic slow down.
Posted by: Lulu | 05 August 2008 at 06:23 AM
ToppaTom, 1 million plug-ins are nothing at all "like going to mars or the hydrogen economy". Mars is a pointless waste. Hydrogen is a fantasy and a diversion from improving efficiency, created by the oil and auto companies. Plug-ins are reality, using existing electrical infrastructure, using existing generation capacity during non-peak hours, a win-win everywhere.
It's nice to see a Presidential candidate with vision for a change!
[q->t to email]
Posted by: Adam | 05 August 2008 at 07:31 AM
"...don't lift up an industry on the wooden blocks of tax credits which once removed, will slam the industry back down."
Umm, sorta like the tax credits applied to Prius sales in North America?
At least he's written a script. Like other politicians - turning it to action depends largely on his handlers.
Posted by: Sulleny | 05 August 2008 at 07:50 AM
To all the McCain and Obama supporters
If there is anything in this plan you don't like, that's ok. Obama will change his stance on this 2 or three more times before the election.
Posted by: Jon | 05 August 2008 at 10:17 AM
"reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5% within 5 years and 10% within 10 years."
Just blend enough ethanol into the gasoline and you've met this goal.
Posted by: Bill | 05 August 2008 at 12:55 PM
"If there is anything in this plan you don't like, that's ok. Obama will change his stance on this 2 or three more times before the election."
I can see where this is going. So, you think it would be better to have rigid politicians that stick to outdated policies in the face of new information in a rapidly evolving industry? Obama's support for sustainable types of biofuels and subsidies to the auto industry that encourage efficiency were part of his plan from day one. What, it's a bad thing to add in some specific numbers? Don't we want these policies to evolve as the technology does?
Posted by: Angelo | 05 August 2008 at 03:07 PM
1 million PHEV's on the road by 2015? Given the huge investment in battery assembly lines worldwide and the fact both Toyota and Honda are preparing for the leap from full conventional hybrid to PHEV, we could see 400 to 500 thousand PHEV's being produced per year by as early as 2012! :-) The next-generation Toyota Prius that will arrive at NAIAS in January 2009 will be designed to accommodate a full PHEV drivetrain, and Honda's new small hybrid family car now in testing (we've seen disguised prototypes testing in the deserts of California lately) could also be ready to eventually accommodate a full PHEV drivetrain.
Posted by: Raymond | 05 August 2008 at 09:23 PM
We don't need more policies today that will just inhibit growth 15 years from now.
Posted by: Jon | 06 August 2008 at 04:11 AM
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Posted by: AutoCar-Live | 06 August 2008 at 10:33 AM
I applaud Obama's plan and his vision, it's just what is needed to spearhead this new economy and move away from dependance on oil and gas, it means independance for the U.S. and their survival instead of decaying into war and energy shortages.
The U.S. didn't get ot he moon by 'letting the market figure it out', they invested and committed.
Posted by: Mark M | 06 August 2008 at 12:57 PM
Adam – Going to mars was a vision. A “Stick-your-neck-out" daring, difficult (and maybe dumb) vision. But without some concrete plan of action, nothing more, fortunately.
The hydrogen economy was a motherhood vision – no plan, no action just a vision, dumber than mars, but hydrogen was motherhood at the time.
Is 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the US roads by 2015 his vision? Wow. It should not be just a vision. It is something big business in GD America and Asia is DOING NOW. And who's against it? No one. (Not yet) – MOTHERHOOD.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 07 August 2008 at 06:21 PM