Obama: Cut Imported Oil by 1/3 by 2020

President wants to boost domestic production, biofuels

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 30, 2011 7:21 AM CDT | Updated Mar 30, 2011 7:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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.”

The Billionth Barrel of Oil Monument which was erected in 1991 in celebration of the Sultanate's export of oil at Seria, September 7, 2004 in Brunei.   (Getty Images)
President Barack Obama delivers his address on Libya at the National Defense University in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
A container ship, top, passes an oil tanker in New York Harbor, Tuesday, June 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A worker high atop a stack of cargo containers prepares a ship for unloading Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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