Obama Calls for 1 Million Plug-in Hybrids by 2015

Kicking off what campaign advisors have dubbed “energy week,” Barack Obama today called for an “end to the age of oil in our time.” He backed up his trademark optimism with the most dramatic auto technology proposals of the 2008 campaign cycle. Obama said he hopes to see 1 million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on the road by 2015, a number far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. Obama’s vision amounts to more than wide-eyed optimism—or generalized political pandering. Details from an eight-page energy fact-sheet the campaign circulated to the media:

  • $4 billion in tax credits to American automakers to retool plants for the production of plug-in hybrid cars capable of 150 miles to the gallon.
  • 
A $7,000 tax credit for consumers who buy early model plug-in vehicles.
  • Half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.

The new proposals will be folded into Senator Obama’s 10-year, $150 billion energy package, which aims to eliminate American dependence on foreign oil by 2019. Obama’s vision for energy independence isn’t all green. The most widely reported headline from today’s energy speech in Lansing, Mich. was Obama’s change of heart about offshore drilling and the release of oil from the strategic energy reserves. Many environmentalists view these compromises as unnecessary and ill-advised, especially considering how much easier it will be to get congressional action on the latter two points of his plan.

Could Obama succeed in bringing about a green-tech revolution? Is it feasible to produce 1 million 150-mpg plug-in hybrids by 2015? Is the $4 billion tax credit tantamount to a corporate giveaway to Detroit automakers which have dragged their heels on hybrid technology? As is usually the case with visions of a more fuel efficient future, there’s plenty of room for both optimism and skepticism.


  • GR

    Sounds like a great plan. I really hope this legislation passes.

  • VaPrius

    This is a superb plan, comprehensive and better than anything we’ve had come out of Washington is a long time. Is it perfect? No, but politics often requires compromise. The giveaway to Detroit is not technically needed but it will help the economy. You know they will fritter away any break given.

  • No Obama Mania

    The consumers should get a tax rebate on hybrids, Hydrogen and electric cars, not car manufacturers!

  • Old Man Crowder

    Wow. $4 billion more in corporate welfare. What a great idea!

    A tax credit? Why not a cash rebate?

    Sounds like a lot of political grand-standing to me.

  • Brian Ny

    If we could the automakers to build the 1 million plug in hybrids it would be great. Right now the consumers are demanding hybrids but the automakers (Toyota) just don’t want to build them. The consumers been asking Toyota to bring the hybrid Sienna to the US but hasn’t. Is this a handout to the automakers. Just where is Obama going to get all this money. 4 billion to the automakers and 7 billion to the consumer. Why only half the cars purchased by the Feds are going to be Plug in Hybrids. Shouldn’t they all. Why not mandate all state & local govt’s buy them. As for him tapping the SPR, that is juts for getting elected. We should never tap into the SPR for price reduction. We should be filling it to the max. 1.5 billion barrels, it is only at 700 million now

  • dhartman

    This will take a lot of commitment and incentives to get the vehicle production up to that level (and it assumes some technology advances) along with increased electrical power capabilities being in place. We could probably outsource the vehicle production to Japan and talk Canada into building a few nuclear power plants!

  • Scream

    Call all you want…the question is, will anyone answer?

  • Anonymous

    Read it again, knucklehead.

    “A $7,000 tax credit for consumers who buy early model plug-in vehicles.”

  • MJ77

    Obama’s energy plan is Exactly what this country needs. It is the key issue facing our world today and he has a comprehensive plan for it. I have no trouble with more drilling and more nukes if it’s part of a long term energy plan to get rid of our oil dependence. 10 years is a perfect target and if we get a few breaks it will happen sooner than people think. 6 years ago there were less than 100,000 hybrids in the US now there is over 1 million. 1 million plug in hybrids in 7 years is feasible.

  • Old Man Crowder

    More drilling will not get rid of your oil dependence.

    Yes, nuclear is ‘cleaner’, but it has its own problems that need to be addressed — construction and maintenance costs, water use and waste disposal, not to mention the need for huge, environmentally unfriendly uranium mines.

  • Jerry

    No offshore drilling until cars get 100MPG

  • PJS Skokie

    Good Morning. I am truly starting to believe Barack has a plan behind each of his optimistic statements during the primaries.

    This energy bill is great. It leaves room for congressional tweeking and dealing.
    Yes I agree with the comment that all government vehicles should make the switch.
    Yes I agree with the comment that the break for early buyers should be a discount or instant rebate of some sort and not just a tax break because a great man of the buyers probably don’t pay that much in taxes per year to make the tax break useful.

    No I disagree with asking for another country to help with the production – we need the jobs here. One day a world union will be in place, but currently we need to be an example of that success – self sustainability.

    To Barack Obama – Please combine these ideas with incentives or instant rebates for home and business owners to create there own energy with solar and/or wind to localize the use of this production. Do a combo deal – buy a plug in vehicle and solar panels and get a bonus deal. For companies who have fleets – they may do the same. Example – if the USPS were to put solar panels on top of all there buildings and maybe a few not so big windmills they could power most or all of their mail delivery vehicles.

    Have a great day. Peter.

  • kerry Beauhrt

    “57 state” Obama may feel really good if there are 1 million plug-ins on the road by 2015, but I would consider that a total failure. This country has 250 milllion cars, which consume something over half the crude oil we use.
    By 2015, there will most certainly be at least another million cars on the road, which will completely obliterate the effects of those million plug-ins, even assuming the
    plug-ins use no gasoline whatsoever. But even if there weren’t those addiitonal gas powered vehicles, the gasoline required by 1 million cars is practically insigficant :
    it amounts to less than 1/2 of 1 percent of private transporattion fuel, and less than 1/4th of 1 percent of total oil consumption. If anyone is dumb enough to believe that there will be any effect on oil prices be removing 1/4th of a percent of demand, he needs a refresher course in simple mathematics. While it’s sad that anyone running for President can be this out of touch with reality, the fact that there are probably large numbers of his supporters who also thinks this will have some effect is even more depressing. The mathematically blind leading the mathematically blind.

  • VaPrius

    Kerry-
    Many in Washington think 1M plug-ins is not possible. And, it will be difficult to be sure. But it will have an impact and it will help to establish the industry for plug-ins. His mathematics are fine, the point is that this is a start. You can’t just wish the problem away. The 1m vehicles represent about 6% of annual car sales — not insignificant at all for such a short time. I’ll agree that 1% of a change in supply or demand is not relevant — but that is McCain’s plan. The only way to get out of this is to reduce demand. So we must either stop driving, or change what we drive.

  • Less NOx

    Wow Kerry, talk about fuzzy math! There may be 250 million cars in the U.S., but since the 300 million population includes every man, woman, and child they sure aren’t all being driven at the same time. We are a three car family but since gas went so high we almost exclusively drive our Prius. People are driving less and trading in their guzzlers for economy cars, and demand is actually dropping in the U.S. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, oil has dropped from $147 a barrel to uder $120 today with most of the drop due to less demand (since I don’t think the added supply from ANWAR has kicked in yet). I’m sure some of the credit for reduced demand goes to the Bush administration, since demand usually drops in recesssions, But if the price of oil has dropped 20% with such modest measures, I think a million plug-ins and improved CAFE will help significantly.

    So good for Obama to shift attention from the “drill anywhere anytime ” strategy of McSame.

  • MccainforPres

    Obama, plan is NOTHING NEW. Do you really think that automakers are going to stick to gasoline only? Offshore drilling has been discussed since the 70′s, thanks, to Congress for lily-lagging.

    Let’s put the blam on Congress for sitting on thier _____ and not producing more nuclear engery and massive trassit!

    Freeing up congestion can save us 40% fuel consumption.

    Government is too broke to give away $$$

  • Brian NY

    Where are we goiing to get the extra power that the plug in needs. Up in the Norteast we barely make it thru the summer with the power we now produce, and have had brownouts almost every year. How will be people who live in apartment buildings plug in thier cars. Run long cords from there apt on the 20 th fl. Right now I do not believe that there is a single solution to this problem. We need to build nuclear power plants, proceed with hydorgen power, hybrids, solar etc….. and yes cut consumption. Driving slower, avoid jack rabbit strarts, keeping your car maintained and so on. Yes oil has come down some, but it is still a limited resource and will run out soem day.

  • Ohmy

    Obama has not addressed of where the electricity will come from to plug 1 million hybrids??? Will He take over the world also?

  • Joelel

    Is it Pinky and the Brain or Pinky and the Brain and Obama that will take over the World?

  • Change Happens

    I don’t see McCain proposing anything in this area. Every change begins with an idea… a dream, if you will, to change. Obama may not be the one who makes all the changes, how could he?… but he sure has rallied many people, renewed a hope in political leaders (well, at least himself) and the idea that we the people (the true leaders) can and will become the change.
    I can’t wait to look back in 40 years and see how the change has taken place and know that many great US/World citizens refused to sit back and continue their Wal-Mart lifestyles; stepped up to vote, invested, supported the leaders that sought a positive future.
    We CAN DO IT FOLKS. Educate yourselves, talk amongst friends and family, read about renewable energy. It’s happening and it’s beginning to snowball.Take a personal inventory of your daily actions… it surprised the heck outta me when I did. And I thought I was all that ;(
    Many are going solar, many will choose to go into debt for a better future (not a damn war please, what a waste- we could have already been solar and electric by now if we had invested correctly). Many are willing to be a bit tighter on the monthly budget to make the change… are YOU? I’m talking to you… Christian, kid popping, gas guzzlin’, patriots. Can you be the change? I challenge YOU to do what Christ would do, not what Bush would have you do.
    he wouldn’t be cracking another beer and taking the kiddos to wally-world to get shirts for $3.
    Allow yourself to learn from other countries or people that may have a better way of doing things. Carry a cup around with you, bring your own plate to a restaurant that uses throw away plates, avoid plastic bags, buy at farmers markets… buy a used scooter or motorcycle to commute for now. Small changes lead to bigger ones.

    It’s all happening right before us.

  • MJ77

    Brian- Current studies show that 200 million plug in hybrids could be supported on the current grid without any changes or any need for more power. Believe it or not but our current power grids have an excess.

    Having a plug-in hybrid uses the same power as running a space heater.

  • brian NY

    I invested heavily in solor energy 20 years ago and all i got is a letter from a bankruptcy court that the company is defunct. That is not the fault of the president but all the people in general. In my last company I wanted to invest in fuel cells 7 years ago, I was told it is no good, if they listened to me they would be floating in money. Like I said before it will not be one thing or one person but many ideas, concepts, trials and EVERYONE. If we all did something to cut down or consverve just a little bit with over 300 million people in the US alone that would be a lot. Can you imagine if every person just saved 1 gallon of gas a week thats a savings of 300 million gallons of gas a week !!! Think small save big. Ok lets say 1 in 3 saves thats still 100 million gallons a week. Thats almost 2 million barrels of gasoline a week!!.

  • Brian NY

    MJ77 – Yes the National Grid has excess generating capacity, but in NY the transmission lines are already at thier Max. In the summer when people are running thier A/C’s we have brownouts where the power companies cut voltgae by as much as 15% or have rotating blackouts to keep the system from having a major shutdown. The peak period of power demand is from 4-8pm when most people will have the cars plugged in. I am not against Plug in but it is not the soloution. I like to know where you got your info cause some studies I been reading want to use plug in to power the grid.

  • Fredz

    While I understand that people have concerns with the plan, new power plants, offshore drilling, to weak, cant be done, ect……
    ITS A START!, and I believe that some people like to complain or criticize the imperfections of the plan. But the fact is American is full of innovators willing to take on challenges. Oh one last thing stop complaining about money given to the Big 3 it happens ALL the time in other business. Lets get this ball rolling even though it may not be pretty at first.

  • Need2Change

    I like the plan, and I believe that with these incentives, it would be easy to achieve 1 million plug-in AND electiric vehicles by 2015.

    I bet the Volt or Prius Plug-ins could almost each achieve a million vehicles with a $7K tax credit. And don’t forget that electirc vehicles also get the $7K, and count as a part of the milliion.

    I suspect that Congress would enact a maximum for each vehicle, which might make it more difficult. For example, each vehicle could be limited to 25K vehicles receiving $7K, next 25K vehicles receiving $3.5K, and next 50K receiving $1K. The Prius and Volt plug-ins could hit 25K within months.

  • Oh yeah

    Oil needs to be drilled everywhere until we reach 100mpg limit. Olny the rich can afford gas now and is not effected.

  • perfectapproach

    What limit? There’s no limit at 100 MPG. Cars could certainly do more than that…I’ve heard of some Insight hybrids that have been modified by their owners to get better than that.

    And for that matter, why wait? There are some things that REQUIRE the use of petroleum oil…so why would we wait and keep burning it in engines when we can come up with a better solution now, and conserve the limited petroleum left on Earth?

    I do agree with releasing the US oil reserves and with drilling off the coasts to ease the economy issues. However, this is dirty business…harmful to the environment. Business-as-usual at an oil well is harmful to the environment.

    Personally, I say go all-nuclear. Sure, it’s dangerous if not handled properly, but it’s not dangerous during Business-As-Usual operation. It’s actually pretty safe, and doesn’t harm the environment. And, nuclear fuel will last a MUCH longer time than the Earth’s petroleum reserves.

  • Bama

    Finally someone who cares about the people and the enviroment. I love this guy!

  • Ian

    Wow, what a disaster Obama would be to this nation… I can’t believe how much everyone seems to love socialism these days.

  • perfectapproach

    @ Ian: Why do you hate socialism? What about it has not worked for you?

  • JohnNOLA

    John, not Ian: “Why do you hate socialism?….” It doesnt work. the Gov. screws up everything they stick their noses in.

    Obama is telling people what they want to hear. He’s an empty suit with very little substance. I hate McCain but don’t trust Obama. I would rather muddle through four more years of McSame than crash and burn with BO. If McCain listens to T.Boone Pickens and others we’ll get by.

    I dont like or trust Obama because he’ll kill any chance I have of ever retiring. I’m 50, I’ve worked nearly 30 years, I have a small nestegg in an IRA. Obama cant fix Social Security like he says, (its all smoke), and he proposes hitting everyone with an IRA/401K with heavy taxes that will set us all back. If he’s elected I’ll probably have to work until I die. I wont be able to retire. Social Security wont exist, the Govmt cant fund it much longer at these rates.

    Our biggest challenges for the next ten years are (1) energy/environment, (2) dealing with the Social Security mess, (3)national secuirty and the Islamic fascists, and (4) keeping our economy afloat.
    Obama’s not up to it. If McCain has a decent VP, when McCain croaks we may be OK.

  • BucktownJay

    Sorry to break it to you people but America is a Republic w/c has socialistic parts to it. I hate the socialist label how about taking away healthcare for children and the elderly those parts of our society are socialistic. And Social Security that I have been paying for years won’t be there for me when I get old at the rate we are going now. Mr New Orleans you should say national security/ energy plan. McCain doesn’t have any energy plan oh lets pat the oil companies on the back and pump more and return to driving huge SUV’s great idea but you know that won’t work invest here in America not overseas or for oil that will show up in the next 7-10 yrs. while saving us what 2 cents? Oh also not true about the IRA/401K though he’s right about that in that some….. but not all people who have a 401K will have higher taxes. To say Obama is not up to it shows a lack of common sense. You could say that you don’t think he will do a good job but please don’t be a tool Obama is no more or less patriotic then McCain

  • Shines

    Um JohnNOLA you say: Obama cant fix Social Security like he says, (its all smoke), and he proposes hitting everyone with an IRA/401K with heavy taxes that will set us all back. If he’s elected I’ll probably have to work until I die.
    First of all this is Hybrid Cars.com not lets whine about the candidates.com
    Where do get this stuff? He doesn’t propose hitting everyone with heavy taxes. Do you make more than 250k a year? If you do then quit your whining – geeze – you could retire now.
    If you make less then Barack is not planning on raising your taxes…

    The Obama proposal includes efforts to improve the electric power grid to handle the extra power needed for vehicles.
    Yes we should invest in nuclear, wind, solar, tidal, wave, geothermal and any other form of power we can generate at a reasonable cost.

  • hd

    people here are crazy. Electric cars are a great idea – for the first 40 miles. then what does that car burn? OIL! then the battery fails. does that go into a lanfill and pollute all the adjacent groundwater?

    and as for the cars that exist NOW – what happens to them? do they just – poof – disappear? can’t covert them to electricity, and guess what they burn? oil! ther is currently no electric car on the market that does the things that moron Obama wants. 150 miles per gallon? you can’t even get that out of a small scooter, so how’s that going to happen? he takes you all for FOOLS by inventing the number “150 MPG” and you follow blindly. Dogma is a hard habit to break.

    and what about the poor people who can only afford, at newest, a ten year old car? do they have to wait, first, 10 years for Obama’s nonsense to maybe, possibly, kinda, work?, then another ten for the cars to get old enough for the price to come down so they can afford an “old” electric car?

    You people who believe this have good hearts, but think with your backsides.

    I’d buy an electric in a heartbeat, but i need it to work at least reasonably as well as what we have now. Alternative fuels aren’t panning out either – look at food prices.

    Don’t HOPE it works, keep your eyes on a solution that is scientifically proven to work, and is COMMERCIALLY viable. Policy must come from that – namely, REALITY.

  • perfectapproach

    Obama’s plan for 1M hybrid/electrics is pretty ambitious, but at least he has a plan. I really haven’t heard much from McCain about them. My impression of McCain’s plan is that he wants to rescue the economy by drilling for more oil, and setting a bunch of nuclear plants.

    Not a bad idea, but then what? And how does that help us out now? That is neither a short-term solution, nor a very-long-term solution. It will take 5-10 years for us to see any real economic benefit from more drilling. And that’s only feeding an already bad addiction to oil. (Although I gotta admit, I’m all about nuclear power. He does have that one right.)

    I think Obama’s plan to both help the consumer with a tax break for buying hybrid/electric cars AND with a tax break for auto makers who develop successful hybrid/electrics is a very good short term solution. And the investments in non-oil power sources is a very good “very-long-term” solution because it weens us off our dependence on oil…foreign and domestic. That will, in turn, help the economy as well.

    The consumer tax break he’s proposing is exhorbitant though…$7000?? Hybrid cars are only about $3000 more than their non-hybrid counterparts. Makes me wonder where all this tax-break money is coming from….

  • Samie

    People here are crazy. Ok I apologize for wanting to invest in American jobs. You are right HD in that it seems to be a far reaching proposal. But wait didn’t the Big 3 produce military vehicles in WW2 or we planed and successfully landed on the Moon? Look at this as a longterm deal not just whats offered today. I want to say that HD is also right about lower income people good point, which I believe would be addressed at some point. Right now we have NO energy plan, I mean none like to see those who love to @@@@@ about any change come up with your own plan and post it. Crying gets us nowhere it just keeps the oil companies and foreign countries like China and Saudi Arabia happy.

  • Nicky234

    Nuclear power like anything has good and bads.
    What concerns me with nuclear is the need for water to cool the reactors. If a region is suffering from a drought nuclear power plants may not be able to run at 100 percent. Also it warms up fresh water streams wc reduces oxygen. I point I make for those who like to fish. Also it may compete with local municipalities for water supplies. The point that everyone makes is where are you going to store it? Nobody including people in a remote area of Arizona wants the waste. I’m not against nuclear but a little more cation is need from all the rhetorical.
    Sorry to the original point Obama’s plan may look a little too ambitious for many but lets look at some European countries that in a few years will be light years ahead of us in terms of energy policy

  • perfectapproach

    I think nuclear power is a little misunderstood. If you check into it a little bit, you will find that today’s power plants are VERY safe, and have few-to-no waste risks.

    We’ve come a long way since 3-Mile island and Chernobyl. Sure, spent fuel rods are hard to dispose of, but these days, they can be re-processed back into fuel again.

    Regarding the water used, it’s actually a closed-loop system. Sure, water will need to be pumped into the power plant once. After that, they will always have all the water they need. The water isn’t even too terribly hazardous if it DOES escape.

    Tritium water can be dangerous, but very little of it is produced, even after several years of operation. This water is filtered out and re-used in — dig this — SPENT FUEL RE-PROCESSING!

    Deuterium water, which is the most common “heavy water” used in power plants, is actually potable. Yep, you can drink it. It’s not necessarily good for you to do it a LOT, but an accidental release won’t cause much of an issue.

    Either way, a modern, properly-functioning nuclear power plant will never really cause any environmental concerns, and they produce a CRAPLOAD of power. Seriously. And it gets us off the oil addiction.

  • Bryce

    38k-7k=31k Volt

    I like the sound of that.

    Some sort of car like the cityZenn with the EESTOR tech would be great too. Some interesting stuff coming down the line and with a nice incentive like this, o man, an even sweeter deal!

  • Denis Lang

    Misperceptions about hybrids and plug-in hybrids

    Hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles are not a low-cost moderation option.

    There are some common misperceptions about hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Crunching the numbers shows that a hybrid car pays for itself in about 6.4 years. In other words, that is how long it takes to cover the cost above that of a conventional gasoline-powered car, the current payback time for a plug-in hybrid is about 13 years, longer than the average vehicle’s useful life.

    Hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles are not a low-cost moderation option. They have more moveable parts vs. the current gas-guzzlers, and 100% electric vehicles.

    The future belongs to the fully electric vehicles, solar cars, and solar power chargers

  • Bryce

    Some of us would rather put our money into battery research than oil’s hands.

  • Big man

    They do 7500 dollars.

  • markinro

    This is a crappy idea – democrats never think long term because they only interested in getting re-elected in 2 years. Watch electricity rates increase – it will barely be better than using gas. Talking about MPG with electrical usage is just stoopid.

  • Ted Ryder

    Plug-in Hybrids are the way to go. Americans spent over 1.1 trillion dollars on gas in 2006. Imagine if we kept most of that money here. That would go a long way in creating new jobs. If we are going to send our manufacturing dollars to other countries we might as well at least reclaim our fuel dollars.

  • David

    Well, it’s 2012 now, and this has not taken place and gas prices are at an all time high, so how did Obama’s plan work out for you.