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WEEKLY ADDRESS: Time to Create the Energy Security Trust

DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people from the Argonne National Laboratory, which he toured earlier that day, about the facility’s focus on harnessing American energy in order to reduce our dependence on oil and make the United States a magnet for new jobs.  The President highlighted his “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy, including his proposal to establish an Energy Security Trust, which invests revenue from offshore oil and gas development in research that will help shift our cars and trucks off of oil. These investments, which are focused on a range of technologies including electric vehicles and advanced batteries as well as investments in advanced biofuels and cars that run on natural gas, will continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, support job creation, increase energy security, and save families money at the pump – all while cutting harmful carbon pollution. These efforts build on the historic steps taken in the President’s first term to protect consumers and reduce oil consumption, including the historic fuel economy standards established which will double the distance our cars can go on a gallon of gas. In line with those efforts, the Energy Security Trust will continue to create good jobs for the middle class as we take control of our energy future.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Lemont, Illinois
March 16, 2013

Hi, everybody.  As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs.  That’s why this week I’m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they’re focused on right here – harnessing American energy. 

You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years.  We import less oil than we have in 20 years.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’re producing more natural gas than ever before – with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s.  And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress.  But over the past few weeks, we got a reminder that we need to do more.  We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year, and the year before that.  It happens every year.  It’s a serious blow to your budget – like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.

Over the past four years, as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, we’ve taken steps to soften that blow by making sure our cars use less gas.  We’ve put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  Over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump. 

But the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good.  That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal. 

Here’s how it would work.  Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.  We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil. 

Now, this idea isn’t mine.  It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals.  So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all.  

And in the meantime, let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power.  A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy.  We can do this.  We’re Americans.  And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go. 

Thanks and have a great weekend.

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