Today Barak Obama appeared on Meet the Press. (full transcript here.)
MR. RUSSERT: How long before our automobiles are off of gasoline oil and, and using something like an alternative fuel?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I, I think that if we decided right now that we were going to make the kind of investment I've proposed--$150 billion over 10 years--then I think at the end of the decade we could have a auto industry that has significantly reduced our consumption of oil by as much as 35, 40 percent. And the technologies exist right now for plug-in hybrids. You know, we should continue to investigate the possibilities of electric cars. The problem is is that we have not been serious about it, and Detroit ended up making investments in SUVs and large trucks because that's where they perceived a competitive advantage and that's where they felt they could make the most profit. I think it was a mistake for them not to plan earlier. Now we're seeing a huge growth in fuel-efficient cars that is benefitting the Japanese automakers, and Detroit is getting pounded some more. And I think that we can make those cars here in the United States. By the way, that's going to be our expert market over the future. China already has higher fuel efficiency standards than we do. If we want to compete for those markets, then we're going to have to invest in technology. The government can help, but the automakers have to make some changes. And I didn't say that just in front of environmental groups, I went to Detroit and said it in front of the automakers. That's the kind of truth telling we need from the next president.