September 17th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Obama's plan for energy independence

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="What are Obama's energy proposals? "]The statement:

Barack Obama, in an ad, called for fast-tracking "a plan for energy 'made-in-America' that will free us from our dependence on Mideast oil in 10 years ...."

Get the facts after the jump!

The Facts:
Michael Levi, a Council on Foreign Relations energy policy expert, was asked about the specifics of Obama's oil-saving goals, detailed on the candidate's Web site. He says they can be achieved if politicians have the will to pursue the various regulations in the plan.

Asked about the general issue of "dependence" on Middle Eastern or Venezuelan oil, Levi added an important caveat: While dependence on these sources of oil can be reduced in 10 years, it won't be eliminated. Oil trades on world markets, and its cost and supply are affected by those large markets in the Middle East and Venezuela, he said - whether the United States would hypothetically choose to trade with them or not.

"We could choose to restrict ourselves geographically, but that would make fewer options for supply and we'd end up paying more," Levi said.

The Obama-Biden Web site introduces its "comprehensive New Energy Plan for America" with six general goals. One of the goals is: "Within 10 years, save more than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined."

In another section, the Web site elaborates under the subheading "Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela Within 10 years."

It calls for increasing "fuel economy standards, getting "1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015," creating a "new $7,000 tax credit for purchasing advanced vehicles," establishing a "national low carbon fuel standard, adopting a 'Use It or Lose It' approach to existing oil and gas leases, and promoting "the responsible domestic production of oil and natural gas."

It is unclear, from both Web statements, whether Obama wants to continue importing oil from the Middle East and Venezuela under tighter controls or simply cut out imports from those countries.

Verdict: Possible. Obama's oil-savings goals could be reached,
but expert warns influence of Middle Eastern oil producers won't
be eliminated.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Scott W.



    September 17, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Griff

    Obama's plan for Energy! Ruin your Teeth Woman, and Chew on this Hide.That's the respet they have of Women...

    September 17, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Matt

    Cry McCain/Palin supporters!!! Your tears sustain me!!!!

    September 17, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Jason

    Funny how everyone is clearly able to disect Obama's policy initiatives but no one seems to know HOW McCain is going to do anything he is talking about.

    McCain likes to call Obama all talk and taxes. Taxes yes, on McCain's friends and all those who very generously supported Obama in Hollywood. Talk no, McCain is the only one who is just talking. He needs to drop this meme. Obama is a great orator...but he has substance too... McCain is the only one who just says stuff.

    September 17, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Voter

    No McCain's analysis?

    aka – little/no incentives for wind/water (just oil/nuclear)

    fiction idea that we'll actually be able to "drill" our way out of this and provide our own oil

    September 17, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Wisdom, intelligence, judgement and quantifiable plans.

    But McCain will tell us 'drill, drill drill..problem solved...our energy situation is very strong...where am I cindy? cindy? where are you? Sarah, when is your parole hearing? Oh, let's sue them, that was sexist"

    September 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Palin 2012


    Go home seriously. We don't need you to win this election. God I can't stand Hillary or her supporters. Hillary is a pig witch in lipstick. Palin is the true american woman.

    Palin 2012.

    September 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. Chris

    Sounds good to me...

    At least Obama HAS an economic plan.

    Oh and before anyone says that we need to drill...know that some drilling IS involved in Obama's plan, just not RECKLESS drilling.

    September 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. Justin, ny

    I'd rather vote for someone who has ambitious goals such as these, than someone who will sit idly while letting the "status quo" continue.

    obama/biden '08!!!!

    September 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. wam

    Thank you Senator Obama and Fact check!!!! an honest candidate and not one who flaunts the law like Palin! From a white 57 year old educated female! More than Palin!

    September 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. John (Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer)

    What exactly is Obama's plan? He keeps talking about if we drill now we wont see anything for 7 years, so what does he propose? one million plug-in cars? Ok that is a small percentage of our general population and by the way the current plug-in cars only go so far and use gas. Oh by the way what about the 18wheel trucks that deliver food and products across the US are they going hybird as well?

    McCain has a real plan, drill and drill now, wind, solar, nuclear and hybird as well. We need all of these untill we can come up with some more ideas.

    Obama is just talk with no actions.

    September 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Enlightened Voter

    So Obama's plan can work. Interesting. Now CNN fact check mccain and palin.

    September 17, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Chris

    Oops typo...that's ENERGY plan. He also has a good economic plan though. Once again something that McCain wouldn't know where to begin.

    September 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Independent Dave, Iowa

    Possible, but not probable until congressional republicans change their priorities and look to the future!

    September 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Dave G

    "Obama's oil-savings goals could be reached,
    but expert warns influence of Middle Eastern oil producers won't
    be eliminated. "
    Right, but the influence of Middle Eastern oil producers would be dramatically reduced. That's the point.

    September 17, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. Michael

    I find it very interesting the last couple of days, has spent so much time looking into Sen. Obama's plans, but little if any on Sen. McCain's plan. To be honest, I am not at all upset about it.
    First because Sen. Obama has released much more comprehensive plans than Sen. McCain, hence more for FactCheck to look into. But in almost every case, this independant organization has said repeatedly, the Sen. Obama's plans are better for America!!!!

    Oh, here is a "Little" Carot for our much loved "Seniors" and those that are close to retirement age.

    Today, the stock market took another major tumble, with the Dow Jones dropping 450 points (more than a 4 percent drop).

    But much more importantly is the fact that the broader market (S&P 500) fell 57 points to 1,156 (almost a 5 percent drop). I say "more importantly" because one of the most popular 401(k) investments are index funds that track the S&P 500.

    On the day that President Bush took office in 2001, the S&P 500 stood at 1,342.54, meaning that it has dropped 14 percent during his tenure.

    Now realize that if Social Security privatization was in effect when Bush was sworn-in, those retirees who invested in the broader market would have seen their Social Security nest egg down 14 percent over those seven-plus years. Instead, they've seen an overall 12 percent increase on their Social Security benefits during that same time frame, thanks to annual COLA (Cost of Living Ajustment) increases.

    John McCain (R) is for Social Security privatization. Barack Obama (D) is against it.

    September 17, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. GARY


    September 17, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Dave G

    John (Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer) says: "What exactly is Obama's plan?"
    Obama's energy plan is detailed very clearly on his web site, and it addresses all the things you mention. You might want to read it.

    September 17, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. mitchell

    obama never said it would be easy. but, if americans come together anything could be possible. it's a patriotism/unity thing, that some dont understand.

    September 17, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. Breck

    CNN, I'm getting sick of having posts with facts about McCain's so called plans censored. MSNBC does such a better job of calling out Republican BS than you.

    September 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Dave in Illinois

    So, we won't be oil independent unless we choose to isolate ourselves from the global oil market and pay more per gallon than the rest of the world. I'm guessing will also be paying more for electricity and natural gas and plastic products and ..............

    Sounds like a great plan to me.

    September 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. JusLaugh

    Just the fact that Obama HAS a plan makes him dominate this issue. I have never heard McCain give any specific information about his energy plan, if he even has one.

    September 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Frank

    More truth on the issues, Mr. Obama ?

    You are running for president in the USA ! You have to lie, cheat, cut-throat, distort, deny, play victim and first of all you are not supposed to know what you are talking about!

    THAT is how you get elected!

    September 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Lie-a-day Palin & Grampy Grumps Ain't Ready for Primetime

    Why does CNN not fact check McCain/Palin on a hourly basis since lying has become the breathing implement of their campaign? Just wonderin' ... Instead CNN makes it a 3-day headline and calls them mavericks for "punching back" with outright falsehoods.

    September 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Deborah

    This man and his team of advisors are brilliant. Don't you love how they have put everything out there to be critically examined by anyone who wants to? When will we see some plans from the Republicans? It would be useful for those of us who want to discuss issues to have plans and proposals to review.

    September 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5