As gas prices spiral out of control again, threatening our economic recovery, President Barack Obama laid out a bold plan to address the threats of our dependence on oil. Only by making our transportation system oil-free will Americans be free from skyrocketing gas prices, free from oil disasters, free from hostile governments that control foreign oil supplies. The great campaign to free America from the toxic influence of oil has been stalled for decades. Obama’s State of the Union address laid out a vision for restarting the United States, built upon a simple idea: less oil, more clean energy:
With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.
“Within 25 years,” Obama added, “our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.”
We need to build now to pay less for oil. Gas prices are going up, but more importantly, the costs of using gas are rising even faster. The pollution, the destruction of our climate, the national security risks, the crushing influence on the national debt of over a billion dollars a day flowing overseas to pay for oil — all of these mean Americans can’t keep jobs and can’t feed their families.
It’s time to “charge, baby, charge.” If this Congress wants to take on the pain at the pump, it will support legislation to build a national infrastructure of electric charging stations for electric vehicles, deploy 21st-century high-speed rail, and curb oil profiteering by Wall Street. This transformation should be paid for by eliminating the billions of dollars of subsidies for the oil and gas industry, and by instituting a slowly graduated gas tax that keeps the money of American drivers inside the United States, instead of going to speculators and foreign dictatorships.