Last Friday – just a few hours after the U.S. Labor Department released its April jobs report showing the largest increase in private-sector job growth in five years – President Obama addressed roughly 750 workers at Allison Transmission Headquarters in Indianapolis. The President spoke about the need to combat the escalating cost of gas and used Allison as an example of the type of company that will develop new technologies, reduce our country’s dependence on oil, and create jobs.
The President has committed to investments in innovation and 21st century clean-energy technologies as a means to reduce costs:
But if we can transition to new technologies, that's what’s going to make a difference over the long term. That's how we’re going to meet the goal that I’ve set of reducing the amount of oil that we import by one-third by the middle of the next decade. We can hit that target. We can hit that target.
Now, in the short term, we still need to do everything we can to encourage safe and responsible oil production here at home. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. So I want everybody to remember that if people ask -- because sometimes I get letters from constituencies saying, why aren’t we just drilling more here? We’re actually producing more oil here than ever. But the challenge is we’ve only got about 2 to 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves and we use 25 percent of the world’s oil. So we can’t just drill our way out of the problem.
And Allison Transmission is a perfect example of a company developing and commercializing those technologies:
We’re also promoting clean energy technologies in other ways, from investing in hybrid systems like the one Allison is developing for commercial trucks, to championing vehicles that run on clean-burning natural gas, to spurring the creation of next-generation batteries for electric vehicles.
You know, a few years ago, America only produced 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries. Those are the batteries that are going into these new electric cars. Because of the investments that we made in the first two years that I was in office, we’re on track to produce 40 percent of the advanced batteries. That is going to be a huge boon to American manufacturing. That’s an example of a big new industry that we can create right here in the United States of America.
President Obama reiterated his call to eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies:
Of course, these investments in clean energy do cost some money, and we’re going to need to find a way to pay for them. Part of the cost can be made up by putting an end to the unwarranted subsidies that we are giving oil companies right now through the tax code. I want everybody to listen here. Oil companies over the last five years, through a recession, through ups and downs, the top five oil companies, their profits have ranged between $75 billion and $125 billion. That's with a B -- not million; billion. And yet, they still have a tax loophole that is costing taxpayers $4 billion every year. Now, if you're already paying them at the pump, we don't need to pay them through the tax code. We do not need to do it. Especially at a time when we’re scouring every part of the budget to try to figure out how we bring down our deficit and our debt.
Read the President’s full remarks at Allison.