Obama Makes Pledge for Greener Cars

In his inaugural address as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama expressed his commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and US reliance on imported oil. He said his administration intends to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

President Obama acknowledged the enormity of the challenge ahead, and hinted that he would take bold action. “There are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.” He added, “They have forgotten what… free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.”

President Obama suggested that his administration would blend market forces and government oversight to help the nation make the transition away from its near complete dependence on petroleum to power cars. He pledged to seek ways to “not only to create jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.”

Within the first days and weeks of his administration, President Obama will have several key decisions to make regarding cars, energy, and the environment, including:

  • What strings will be attached to further bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler
  • If and when to sign a waiver allowing California to establish its own limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks
  • How to best establish final rules on tighter fuel efficiency standards signed into law by former President Bush. (The rules are due by April 1, 2009.)

In the inaugural address, the president said the current global economic crisis proves that “without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control.”

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  • Riktok

    Go Obama!

  • sean t

    We’ve got a vision, now actions will follow.

  • Need2Change

    The U.S. auto industry has been fighting the California standards. They say they don’t want to build cars to two different standards.

    Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Obamo administration expands the California standards nation-wide.

    Hot rodders better buy their Mustang Cobras, Camaro SSs, BMWs, Chrysler Hemis, Nissan GTs, Porsches, etc. while they still can.

  • John McMillen

    Did anyone else catch the new Glen Beck show on Fox Noise channel when he had Sarah Palin on? She said something like she disagrees with Obama plan on energy because Alaska has all the energy we need. Is she still smoking crack or something??? Why do all the republiCONS still think more drilling is the only solution to this crisis ???

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Hot Rodders need to change from those wimps you mention. They need to start saving up for their Tesla Roadster Sport editions so they can have real hot rods. Those are just old jalopies 🙂

  • David

    I may not agree with every policy of Obama’s, but this certainly is a better direction than we’ve been heading.

  • AP

    His objectives are hard to argue with. The real proof will be how he acts. My hope is that he relies heavily on the “market forces” part (a higher fuel tax) and much less on the “government oversight” part (CAFE?). Manufucturers will create fuel-efficient vehicles if consumers reliably demand them, whether or not CAFE exists.

    We are the only country who has tried to reduce fuel consumption with fuel-efficiency standards, and we are the only one that has failed to achieve it. Ditch CAFE; use a revenue-neutral fuel tax.

  • Bryce

    ev1 driver……..Top Gear tested the Tesla Roadster

    They liked the acceleration, the handling was awful, and it died halfway through driving. Luckily they brought two to test knowing that recharging would take forever……that one was broken without ever driving it really though. They tried to switch to the other one after a charge…..which took a couple of days, but the breaks went out. They liked it…..they just wish it wouldn’t have been so shoddy…..and generally dangerous to ones health. Handling could definetly be improved too.


  • jvoelcker

    @Bryce: I believe Top Gear later admitted that they had faked the “had to push it back into the garage” bit, saying essentially that they’re about entertainment, not veracity.

  • Bryce

    They didn’t fake it, but the Tesla didn’t actually die, they just calculated that under their driving conditions, it would not have reached the purported 200 mile tough driving range. They actually specifically say in the video….”we figured it would have this range”

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Top Gear, while entertaining, shouldn’t be taken as gospel. All the serious automobile rags have loved it when they drove the Tesla Roadster. Even better, I loved it when I drove it. It will blow most hot rods away.

  • Bryce

    I didn’t say they didn’t love it too, but I was also pointing out that for someone that actually takes it to the track…..they may need a few back-up teslas. That is also pretty scary that their breaks can fail so easily….even when just sitting there charging.

  • Cool Electra

    I cannot help but feel a real sense of optimism about the green agenda. I think Obama has, to use his own word, the “audacity” to challenge the hegomony of the old auto industry and usher in a new era of green energy.

  • AP

    Cool Electra, I don’t think the “old auto industry” has anything against green cars. What they don’t want is green cars that are so expensive to produce that the manufacturer can’t sell them at a profit. If stricter CAFE regulations take effect, and fuel prices stay low, no one (besides posters here) will pay for the technology required to meet CAFE, and automakers will be out the profits they need to fund research and development.

    The best way to promote green vehicles isn’t with regulations, it’s by increasing demand with a higher gasoline tax.