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. Biff Biffington RETURNS...

    John. retired navy officer...




    now... I could tell you where his plan is.... but you HAVE NO interest in actually reading it... so I won't waste my key strokes... Just wondering..... what is exxon John's plan? (i mean besides "doing whatever Exxon wants" ?)

    September 17, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Hpotterfan77 in CT

    To Palin 2012.....Sarah Palin, please get off this website. If you can't contribute an actual intellectual thought than go away. Drill baby drill is not the answer. Obama is the only one that has shown real patriotism by trying to bring everyone together for the cause rather than attack them. Stop being upset by the fact that Obama really doesn't have an skeletons in the closet and actually tells the truth.

    September 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Biff Biffington RETURNS...

    Palin 2012...

    could you BE more fake???

    the primary wars are OVER... who the heck is still fighting over Hillary and Obama... !

    REPUBLICANS... that's who.!

    September 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  4. Uma from Liverpool, UK

    Of course the dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East won't be eliminated overnight. It probably can't be done in four years.

    Barack Obama has so much elephant dung to shovel out of the White House and Washington, D.C., he won't be able to rush ANY radical, new plans through, right away.

    Bill Clinton had the same problem. So did Jimmy Carter, and it (among other things) cost him the re-election.


    That said, Obama's plan is the plan that WORKS, not only for the USA, but also for the future of the globe!

    If you are not frightened by 'Drill Here, Drill Now!', and 'Drill, Baby Drill', you are not paying attention.

    September 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. Judy from NC

    It will be so refreshing to have a President who asks us to aim for higher goals. Obama inspires me!

    September 17, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. chrissy

    why didn't cnn ask this guy if obama's position to limit increasing domestic oil supply helps achieve energy indenpendence...or say no to nuclear power and clean coal? talking about throwing a softball forward in order to get a soft ball answer backward.....lame report!

    September 17, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. S. Boatman

    How About A Fact Check Of The Mccain Plan? . . . Oh Wait, . . . He Doesnt Have One!

    September 17, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. S. Boatman

    When Mccain Chose Palin He Was Thinking He Was Going To Drill Baby Drill!

    September 17, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Mind Setter

    Folks its not his plan its THE AMERICAN PLAN we cannot acheive this if we don't have the vision to do this. It start with each one of us making that concious decision not to buy gas guzzler cars and trucks.

    September 17, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. Independent for Obama

    It's very simple, Republicans are the party that wrecked America!

    September 17, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Anita from Arizona

    Any reduction of Middle East Oil is a good thing. Our dependency has only grown in the past 20 years. A plan to go downhill from that is a good plan. What's McCain's plan? I'd like to compare and contrast.

    September 17, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. Conservative and Proud


    September 17, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. Trysh, Los Angeles

    John (Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer) September 17th, 2008 6:21 pm ET

    What exactly is Obama's plan? *******************

    Did you not read the article? Or are you just running off at the mouth because no matter what you are shown, you NEED to hold on to your weak argument that you've gotten no details and facts from Obama?

    You know...its okay to just say you don't wanna vote for a Black guy.

    September 17, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    Obama is tha only won wurth votin fer! McCain's Old! Obama looks nise and ken tak reel gud tu! Im votin fer Obama and yu shud tu!

    Obama/Bydin 08!

    September 17, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. georgia independent


    The Obama campaign can make promises on a big issue that are NOT outright lies.

    McCain can't even keep track of wheter the economy is good or bad or functional or what...


    September 17, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. I am NOT a paid Republican troll


    September 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. diane08

    The problem I have with off-shore drilling is that there is no guarantee that the oil will be limited to American use. Once that oil is drilled it goes on the open market. What provisions are in place to ensure that this oil stays here in the US and not sold to China or whoever the highest bidder happens to be?

    We buy cheap, lead-filled toys from China at a 1000% mark-up, then they use that profit to buy up our newly drilled oil. Where does that leave us?

    I have yet to hear Republicans address this issue.

    September 17, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Pat Riot

    So Obama is going to make us drive hybrids? Sure sounds like communism to me. I think it is interesting they got the opinion of one of Obama's CFR buddies too. This globalist traitor organization should be shut down.

    September 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Eric in New Castle

    McCain is starting to creep me out. There is something scrary about this whole thing. The GOP is up to something sinister. Palin is a nut bag, everyone knows this. McCain is a puppet of the GOP, He will say and do what he is told to do. John McCain sold his soul. This is a sad thing

    September 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. jake1492

    Both Obama and McCain have, at one time or another, talked about the need for a significant investment in alternative energy. So to some extent it depends on who you believe. I believe Obama because his party has consistently and strongly supported that position. I don't believe McCain because his party has not supported alternative energy in the past. I believe Obama because when I hear Obama explain the sitatution it makes sense to this technically competent individual. I don't believe McCain because, although he has of late said some things about foreign energy dependence that are technically accurate... he is johnny-come-lately and still demonstrates nothing like the depth of understanding and commitment that Obama does. In short... it's possible that John McCain would do an adequate job of addressing the foreign oil dependence problem, but definitely not clear that he would. Obama has made it a central issue and his policy is much more credible. Why vote for the "me too" guy when you can have the real thing?

    September 17, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. GG

    Every good plan starts somewhere...And it must be in writing, not just floating around in some old guys head. BUT, every great plan changes as you learn from working the plan. At least Barack got the first step completed. Where's McCain's 1st draft?

    September 17, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. MikeH

    I must commend CNN for undertaking a honest fact check of the candidates various claims and plans, however...

    You should do a side-by-side for the reader to compare, even if one side has no detailed plan.

    Also when one of the candidates says a flat-out lie, you need to call it what it is (not naming any names here).

    September 17, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Obama nohope

    Americans love Obama, but does he reciprocate ?

    September 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Obama Facts

    Obama wants more economic turmoil, so he can take advantage of the situation.

    Obama wants no-drill, he is so negative. He does not trust American work Force. He must change his mind about workforce before he thinks about changing Washington.

    He has not changed anything in his life, still playing same old politics.

    Obama could not even change Rev Wright's mentality after spending 20 years with him.

    September 17, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. synergyzone, Ohio

    Obama has a long range plan with well focused specific goals that will be realized, by all americans, with the application of excellent leadership and science and hard work to remove our DEPENDENCE on MID EAST OIL. This plan doesn't need lipstick.


    September 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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