President Obama will put energy policy in the crosshairs today, calling for the United States to cut the 9.7 million barrels it imports each day by a third by 2020. But even given the precarious energy situations in the Middle East and Japan, notes the Washington Post, the president likely faces an uphill battle against a complacent public and a thirsty economy. The specifics of how to hit that benchmark look pretty familiar:
- Natural gas: Obama will seek to widen its use, including incentives for natural gas-driven fleets, such as city buses.
- New biofuel refineries: He'll vow to open at least four commercial-grade facilities in the next two years.
- Higher fuel efficiency: This time the president will target benchmarks for heavy trucks.
- Prop up domestic oil production: Facing criticism that his administration has dragged its feet on new drilling permits since the BP spill, Obama will prod oil producers to make use of existing leases he says are underutilized.
A boost comes today in the form of a bipartisan report headed up by Trent Lott, which says: "Recent events—from unprecedented unrest in the Middle East and North Africa to the Japanese nuclear crisis to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill—demand a thorough reassessment of America’s energy security.”