Followup Speech: Drive Star Can Cut Oil Use in Half by 2020
- We've received very positive responses to our
June 13 "President's 2nd Message: We Can Cut Oil
Use in Half by 2020," where we predicted what the
President might say on June 15 and proposed how
he could follow that up. That posting was
published at Climate Progress and reprinted at
GreenCarCongress.com, EV World.com and
PlugInCars.com. As part of our efforts to
distribute it to print media and broadcast media,
we've now produced the much shorter version found
below. We're also distributing this broadly in
advance of our quick visit to Washington, DC next
Mon-Tues, June 28-29, as we continue to enlist
allies. If you haven't done so already, please
forward this to your networks. (The shorter
version necessarily omits some of the detail from
the first, so you can also point people to the
longer version at http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1101.html .) Thank you!
(Shortly after it goes out on email, this posting
will also be viewable at
http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html -- there
you can add CalCars-News to your RSS feed.)
President Obama's Followup Speech: Drive Star Can Cut Oil Use in Half by 2020
Today I announce Drive Star. It's a plan to cut
our oil use in half by 2020. If we can match the
efforts of our citizens and our industries after
Pearl Harbor, in a decade, we'll have gotten a
great deal: many new jobs, and safer, healthier, and better lives.
As long as we remain addicted to oil, we remain
at risk for another oil catastrophe, on land or
on sea. In the U.S. and around the world, no
matter how careful we all are, deep- and
shallow-water wells, giant tankers, aging
pipelines and sprawling refineries may fail --
and remain in the cross-hairs of terrorists -- as
long as they operate. The only way to guarantee
our nation's safety -- the most realistic
solution -- is to reduce national and global
demand for petroleum. That's conservative:
protecting everything we value from change we can't control.
Since our cars and trucks use almost two-thirds
of the oil we buy, the quickest way to do that is
to free transportation from its grip.
Fortunately, the answer is under the hoods of the
250 million vehicles we drive today. Using
existing technology, we can convert many into
plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
We've about to enact "Home Star" and "Building
Star" and put people to work on "Cash for
Caulkers" retrofits to make buildings more
comfortable and cut owners' fuel costs. With
bipartisan support, we can add "Drive Star."
Our 100 million trucks, vans, and buses now gulp
down one third of the oil we use. About half stay
on the road a surprisingly long time: 15 to 35
years. That's long enough to merit a makeover.
Retrofitting these gas guzzlers will pay off, for
their owners, their communities, and our nation.
We already upgrade our computers. We can upgrade our vehicles, too.
The U.S. can lead a new, profitable, global
business. Pioneering companies can already turn
gas- and diesel-powered vehicles into
all-electrics or plug-in hybrids, depending on
how they're built and the range their drivers
need. As batteries get cheaper and smaller, and
motors get light enough to fit inside wheels,
we'll be able to upgrade smaller cars. We won't
need new power plants; we have enough off-peak
electricity to recharge as many retrofits as we
can build. As more electricity comes from
lower-carbon fuel sources, our cars will
magically get cleaner as they get older!
Mass conversions will cost under $10-$15,000.
That's still a lot for old car owners to pay up
front. But retrofitters can partner with energy
service companies to finance these costs, backed
by federal loan guarantees. Since an electric
mile is up to five times cheaper than a petroleum
mile, retrofits will cost less to drive right
away, benefitting public, military, and private
fleets, and individual drivers.
We'll add targeted incentives to jump-start "Cash
for Conversions", a successor to our popular
$4,500 "Cash for Clunkers". Now, new plug-in car
buyers get up to $7,500 in tax credits. We'll
match that to retrofit the first five million
gas-guzzlers that displace an equivalent amount
of oil and can last 10 or more years. As
high-volume production lowers the price, we can
taper down the incentive over a second five million.
Every day, we hand over a billion dollars to
foreign oil suppliers. With Drive Star, by loan
guarantees and grants of less than we pay now for
three months of foreign oil, we'll catalyze quick
retrofits of over 50 million vehicles. When we do
the math, let's remember that defending our
nation is never cheap. If terrorists had poisoned
40% of our wetlands and 25% of our fisheries, we
wouldn't ask, "How much will it cost to fight
back?" We'd dispatch tens of thousands of soldiers and spend whatever it took.
By summer 2011, we'll be ready to create a
powerful new U.S. conversion industry. Tens of
thousands of Americans will have important, good
jobs fixing vehicles in commercial garages and
boarded-up auto plants. For the first time,
carmakers and dealers will get a new revenue
stream from upgrading vehicles they've already sold.
We Americans love to race. Since Charles
Lindbergh won $25,000 for his first transatlantic
flight, we've seen again and again how competition sparks innovation.
Let's start "Drive Star" with a $100 million
challenge: Design a way to retrofit a popular
vehicle. Make it affordable, safe, eligible for
warranty and high volume installation. Deliver
test vehicles in six months. Judges will come
from the Departments of Energy and
Transportation, the EPA, and groups like the
Society of Automotive Engineers, the X Prize
Foundation, Cleantech Open and the Specialty
Equipment Manufacturers Association.
Early next year, we'll convene a kickoff summit
in Michigan for conversion companies, car and
component makers, lenders, fleet owners, and
drivers to start a national rollout of conversion locations.
Drive Star is America's chance to lead the world
in a new direction. U.S. companies will export
and license our solutions and work with
suppliers, manufacturers and installers to fix
vehicles everywhere. Because oil is a global fuel
and its accidents affect us all, our solution must be, too.
Every generation is called on to rise to a
challenge. Ours is beating our addiction to oil.
With Drive Star, we have the motive, the means,
and the resources to cut our oil use in half in ten years! Together, we can.
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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