Obama calls for end to foreign oil dependence in 10 years

Other News Materials 5 August 2008 00:10 (UTC +04:00)

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called on the United States to end its dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 years as part of a broad speech laying out his energy plans on Monday, the dpa reported.

Obama, who celebrated his 47th birthday Monday, said he would direct the "full resources" of government towards promoting renewable energy sources, investing 150 billion dollars over the 10-year period.

"Breaking our oil addiction is one of the greatest challenges our generation will ever face. It's gonna take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy," Obama said in Michigan, home to the nation's largest automakers.

Obama challenged struggling automakers in the United States to retool towards more fuel-efficient cars in the face of surging petrol prices that have led to slumping sales of sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

General Motors Corp last week reported a 15.5-billion-dollar loss in the second quarter and a 27-per-cent drop in July auto sales on a year earlier.

Obama called for 150 million plug-in hybrid vehicles to hit the roads within six years, and said he would aim for 10 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources by the end of his first term.

US consumers have been reeling from an economic slowdown and rising petrol prices that have become a focal point of the election campaign between Obama and his Republican rival John McCain.

McCain, who advocates energy independence by 2025, has called for lifting a moratorium on oil drilling off the coast of the United States to reduce the immediate pressure on global crude oil prices and expanding the country's use of nuclear energy. He has repeatedly hammered Obama for refusing to do the same.

But Obama Monday repeated a pledge - first make last week - that he would support expanded oil drilling as part of a wider compromise on energy that is making its way through Congress.

Obama also called for an immediate 1,000-dollar tax rebate for US consumers, paid for by a windfall-profits tax on US oil companies that have reported record profits this year.