Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, April 30, 2011
After the worst recession since the Great Depression, our economy is growing again, and weâve gained almost 2 million private sector jobs over the last 13 months. But I also know that a lot of folks arenât feeling as positive as some of those statistics might suggest. Itâs still too hard to find a job. And even if you have a job, chances are youâre having a tougher time paying the rising costs of everything from groceries to gas. In some places, gas is now more than $4 a gallon, meaning that you could be paying upwards of $50 or $60 to fill up your tank.
Of course, while rising gas prices mean real pain for our families at the pump, they also mean bigger profits for oil companies. This week, the largest oil companies announced that theyâd made more than $25 billion in the first few months of 2011 â up about 30 percent from last year.
Now, I donât have a problem with any company or industry being rewarded for their success. The incentive of healthy profits is what fuels entrepreneurialism and helps drives our economy forward. But I do have a problem with the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies weâve been handing out to oil and gas companies â to the tune of $4 billion a year. When oil companies are making huge profits and youâre struggling at the pump, and weâre scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways arenât right. They arenât smart. And we need to end them.
Thatâs why, earlier this week, I renewed my call to Congress to stop subsidizing the oil and gas industries. Understand, Iâm not opposed to producing oil. I believe that if weâre serious about meeting our energy challenge, we need to operate on all cylinders, and that means pursuing a broad range of energy policies, including safe and responsible oil production here at home. In fact, last year, Americaâs oil production reached its highest level since 2003.
But I also believe that instead of subsidizing yesterdayâs energy, we should invest in tomorrowâs â and thatâs what weâve been doing. Already, weâve seen how the investments weâre making in clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses. Iâve seen some of them myself â small businesses that are making the most of solar and wind power, and energy-efficient technologies; big companies that are making fuel-efficient cars and trucks part of their vehicle fleets. And to promote these kinds of vehicles, we implemented historic new fuel-economy standards, which could save you as much as $3,000 at the pump.
Now, I know that in this tough fiscal environment, itâs tempting for some in Washington to want to cut our investments in clean energy. And I absolutely agree that the only way weâll be able to afford the things we need is if we cut the things we donât, and live within our means. But I refuse to cut things like clean energy that will help America win the future by growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs; that will help make America more secure; and that will help clean up our planet in the process. An investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow. And I think thatâs an investment worth making. Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.