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

Fact Check: Obama's plan for energy independence

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/11/art.obama.hispanic.gi.jpg 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. anyonmous

    now everbody is fair they al get a boucne from their convection

    September 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. White evangelical now for obama--Repugs are liars

    This guy is just brilliant and shows he lives in an energy revolution era.

    He is not stuck in the 19th century.

    September 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Sammy

    Decent plan on the surface. But all plans change. And often to get them through congress many things are gutted. Yes its very ambitious. But better to try to succeed than do nothing at all.

    September 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. ALLAN USA

    Obama is disaster to USA. No HRC - No obama.

    September 17, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Candy West Virginia

    Once again Obama's plans are doable and realistic and he doesn't lie to us unlike mccain's who ALan Greenspan said his economic plan would ruin the economy. I am a WASP = Woman against Sara Palin!

    September 17, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Amy

    Where is the balance? I want to see McCain's policies scrutinized by experts too. At least if you question his policies you won't be accused of being sexist.

    September 17, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Nonya

    Who is John Galt?

    September 17, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Independent in MO

    Scott W. –Third party is just wimping out, there's too much hoopla for 3rd party to win, and what's the point if you can't win. There will be too much turnout for both republicans and democrats. YOu're just inviting in whomever you don't want. If you're a republican that can't stand the idea of McCain/Palin and their unreligious version of truth, then you owe it to yourself to vote in a manner that will help keep them out. 3rd party votes will not help keep them out, and might just weaken the other side enough so that the repoublicans will win. Think about it. Obama/Biden '08–they've said a lot of good, well-thought out things and their website is excellent with details. Check it out. We don't need another Presidential nominee that thinks their above the law.

    John-GEt informed. If you'd actually look at his website, you could read it for yourself.

    September 17, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Ken

    I do not believe Obama's plan anywhere called for eliminating the "influence" of world markets. That is clearly preposterous, and is just used as a lame red herring in this factcheck article. Eliminating "dependence" has just as clearly come to mean elimnation the physical imports of foreign oil. That the only 'negative' they can come up with in Obama's plan is a vacuous red herring, speaks loudly for the soundness of the plan and the politician and his team.

    September 17, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Sage

    Griff again you prove that only really DIM people support McCain...tragic you probably think the economy is fundamentally strong...idiot

    September 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Katrina

    Ten years is hard to imagine, that's true. But shooting for ten years, with all you have, and perhaps falling short by a few years beats the silly "drill baby drill" by a ratio of 1000:1.

    September 17, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. La Raza

    Ok now I know that I am not dumb, but does anyone remember "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran?"

    September 17, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. Independent in NC

    Can either candidate tell me how they plan to refine the oil they want to drill for? We don't have the capability right now to refine the amount of oil they are talking about to get us off foreign dependency.

    September 17, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. Mike Texas

    At least Obama has an ambitious plan. With ambitious plans sometimes you make short term sacrifices for long term benefits. McCain just tells everyone what they want to hear and alot of America eats it up like candy and when he can't deliver he will blame the Democrats and Obama like usual.

    September 17, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Doesn't like Kool-aid

    Once again, O's policies make no sense. Probably because his advisors were the heads of Fannie, Freddie and Lehman. Why did O receive the second most money from these companies, but he had no idea how corrupt they were? Ya, I want him in charge! NOT!!!!

    September 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. HAWK, TEXAS

    THE OIL COMPANYS ALLREADY HOLD DRILLING RIGHTS ON 85 MILLION ACRES, AND HAS HAD THEM FOR YEARS, BUT HAVE NOT DRILLED ON THEM, NOW THEY WANT THE REST OF THE PIE. IF THEY GET THEM JUST WATCH, THEY WILL HOLD THEM AND NOT DRILL. WAKE UP PEOPLE FOSSIL FUELS ARE DESTROYING OUR PLANET. ALL JOHN MCCAIN HAS SAID HAS BEEN ONE LIE AFTER ANOTHER. THEY HAVE EVEN ADDMITED TO LYING. I LIVE IN AN AREA OF TEXAS WHERE THEY HAVE DRILLED SEVERAL HUNDRED WELLS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. AND THEY ARE NOT DRILLING FOR OIL, THEY ARE AFTER GAS. THERE IS PLENTY OF OIL HERE BUT THEY DO NOT WANT IT NOW. THEY ARE SAVING IT FOR WHEN THEY CAN GET THEIR OWN PRICE FOR IT. WE CANNOT DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS MESS. IF WE NEED OIL SO BAD WHY IS IT BEING SOLD TO FORIEGN COUNTRYS.

    September 17, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. kraines

    you know at least it is a plan, fact checked, and could work. I want someone for changes in amerirca, that at least has a plan and presents it. It may not be perfect, it may take some time, but it is a real plan and just not lip service. now i know that there will be those that will have a problem with this plan, but if you are anybody has a better solution, please come forward!

    sign
    just paid $63.00 to fill up a old 1995 chevy lumina

    September 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    YES WE CAN!!

    Go Obama/Biden! We're on board!

    September 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Daryl from Seattle

    People say Obama is all talk, but at least he's talking about what his specific plans are to get us out of this Republican mess. How come we don't see any fact check on McCain's ideas? Oh yeah, he doesn't have any. When Obama's campaign criticized McCain on the economy, the best he could come up with was..."Oh, but he's at a celebrity fundraiser." Big deal! At least it's not a Oil Lobbyist fundraiser! Obama plans to tax more from the very people he just got donations from! What does THAT tell you??? He's not elitist.

    September 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. mitchell

    let's just contemplate our belly buttons, instead.

    September 17, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. doob

    I'm with Sammy, "better to try than do nothing at all"
    I'm willing to vote Obama tha than Mcdrill.

    September 17, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Sue in MI

    At least he has a plan that doesn't depend on oil. You drill people are crazy. In the first place, we have plenty of sites to drill that are available, the leases are out there, the area is ready, and the oil companies aren't using them because we don't have the refinery capacity for any more oil. So all that stupid "Drill, Baby, Drill" chanting was just that, stupid. It makes a nice sound bite, otherwise useless.
    I think people have a problem with two things: Obama is mixed race...scary!
    Change is hard and expensive. We have to start now before it's too late. This problem is not affecting our economic system which trickles down into every other facet of our lives. If we don't get something going (and not a COMMISSION, for God's sake) we will be a sorry nation very soon. And Dave, be prepared, because we ARE going to be paying more for things, the difference will be that Obama's plan will create jobs in these new industries, so people will get back on their feet, a novel concept for the rich Republicans.

    September 17, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. FACT CHECK MCCAIN CNN!!!

    If CNN would actually fact check McCain and Palin's lies and distortions, we would be here for days and days.........

    September 17, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. KC

    John (Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer) Geez, do some reading, go to his web site and read his book, what more detail do you need! Get a clue. If you go to McCains web site it changes daily and there are few details.

    September 17, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. Hope LV,NV

    Not all plans are fool proof, bu tthe point is that Sen. Obama has plan. Is there a McCain plan to disect other than his calling Palin an energy expert? The work ahead of Americans will not be easy but we have to at least try. We can't sit around here forming commissions on what went wrong.
    BTW I have yet to hear or see any of John McCains plans. He just keep telling us about Obama and not about himself in specifics.

    September 17, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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