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. Barney

    What IS MCCAIN'S PLAN other than to drill, baby, drill.

    and his running mate is hiding from everything and everyone.

    No McCain

    Let's take our country back and give an INTELLIGENT PERSON – NOT another idiot like Bush.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 17, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Scott L

    Finally, some fact checking on Obama's ridiculous statements of his pie in the sky visions.

    Drill baby drill...drill now. Drill into Democrat's heads that RAISING TAXES IS LETHAL TO OUR ECONOMY WHETHER IT IS STRONG OR WEAK...DUH!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan


    September 17, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Lone Star Wolf


    September 17, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    77% of Obama's ads are negative

    What a dirt ball. And a wind bag

    This is outrageous.

    Obama is risky and a clear and present danger to our society.

    September 17, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. McWhine

    Two points:
    1. For those said Hillary 2012 and support McWhine/Palin, you are all fake. Why? If you like McWhine/Palin, wouldn't you want them in office for two terms? Shouldn't you said Hillary 2016?

    2. McWhine/Palin don't love America. In fact, they hate America. Evidence: Where are their flag pins? They don't wear them, do they? McWhine even said he DIDN"T REALLY LOVE America until he was deprived of her.

    Go ahead. Support a traitor!!

    September 17, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Trish Hussien - PA

    Shut up caribu barbie. Fellow Obama supporters, please listen up. This is long, but it's important. You need to take some action right now to make sure your vote counts. CALL YOUR POLLING PLACE AND COUNTY COURT HOUSE AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE STILL REGISTERED TO VOTE!

    I am urging all who come out to vote... please do not advertise your vote. Leave your Obama pins and shirts at home on this day. Cast your votes proudly, but with secrecy Do not give the corrupt republicans any chance at distorting or eliminating your vote. EVERYONE... call your polling place shortly before Nov. 4 and make sure you are still registered to vote. And PLEASE! pay close attention to your ballets! Make absolutely sure that you are voting for Obama and not McCain. Make sure Obama's name is actually next to the box you check or the circle you fill in or the hole that you punch or however your polling place records votes. Take your time and make sure you are voting for the correct candidate. If you don't know, ask! Get there early if you can to avoid broken machines and long lines. If you need a ride, contact the Obama campaign. Make sure your vote counts on Nov. 4. It's just too important.

    Republican politicians are the most corrupt individuals in this country. They have proven with their outright outrageous pandering and lying that they want this election BAD. They will stop at nothing, including severe corruption in the polls.They did it to Al Gore and they will try to do it to Obama. I am strongly urging and downright begging all of you to donate just one day of your time to try and stop this horrible injustice. Take a vacation day on November 4 and volunteer at your local polling place to be a polling place watcher. Polling place watchers are trained by the Obama campaign as well as by your polling place to look out for signs of foul play at the polls. I think they are called polling place watchers. Maybe they use a different term now. Not sure. Anyway, Just one day, to try to offset the corruption that will be taking place by the republicans. Contact the Obama campaign via and volunteer for this terribly important day.

    Copy and paste this post into every blog you can find. Help me spread the word and help me stop the republican corruption machine!

    September 17, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Russell - in MO

    You forgot to factor in the inherent inefficiency of an Obama Dictatorship.

    September 17, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. Jody Monroe

    CNN, where is your analysis of McCain's energy plan? Or does he even have one?

    Come on, now, dig it up, do your jobs...

    September 17, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. DEBBIE

    NOW THATS A PLAN.................................


    September 17, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. annie - former democrat

    If drilling here in our own country (obumbler says) won't produce anything for 10 yrs., just how does he think all this modern technology will be in place and take us of foreign oil independence in 10 yrs. Not only does he not know how many states are in the USA but he can't do math either.

    September 17, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. Independent NV Voter

    I don't think Obama's plan is saying that we must drive Hybrids or that we need to isolate ourselves from the world. But we do need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Our money is helping to finance terrorism and countries that hate us. George Bush made that statement not too long ago. Unfortunately, he didn't do much about it.

    September 17, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. annie - former democrat

    To Greg FL – obumbler hasn't told the truth since day one of his campfuzzle! Why would anyone in FL or MI vote for this thing when he vote Hillary tooth and nail to keep these two states from having their votes count?

    September 17, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. White and Black support for Obama

    Mccain wants to change Washington, but he forget he is part of Washington.
    Who is he fooling? He has all the lobbyiest beside him and he wants to shake them...ehhhh.

    Tell me after the election, who will run his government the lobbyiest and specail interest groups.

    September 17, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. maynard hopkins wi

    talk is cheap and thats all OBAMA can do is talk....... he can't even think about the cost of gas and could care less.......If he would sit down and look at the situation the answer stares him in the face

    take hurricane IKE it did not do that much damage to the oil platforms of refineries. but the gas company claims it was extensively damaged by the wind... they keep the price of gas up this way

    he wants off shore drilling....which is what the oil companies want because of the hurricane season...... if Obama wants more oil then drill for it on land and out of the hurricanes way.

    Also use the oil that is in the wells that the government has capped and paying a demerger on to the owner of these wells.

    America has more oil than the foreign nations do yet no one in congress or the senate wants to do anything about this,,,,,,Its time to stop being captive to a foreign nation.


    September 17, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. sharon

    just heard Sara at town hall meeting. When asked that exact question..."can we keep all the oil drilled in the USA in the USA and not sell it to foreign markets" her delightful response..."john and I are going to reform washington,clean out the swamp and see that US oil stays in the US because it's our oil and it belongs to the American people".......omg.....what planet did this trophey vice come from?

    September 17, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. LJinLACA

    Chris Matthews said it best today. When have we seen a party try to take off it's uniform in the middle of the game. The buck stops with the Republiican trickle down economics. It does not work. McCain has no where to go.

    Best line of the day-
    The good ole boys club? That's a staff meeting for John McCain!
    Go Obama!

    September 18, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  18. Oil Worker in Texas

    Hurricane just hit the Gulf Coast of Texas very hard over the weekend, and in the process took 25% of the country's oil refineries off line for weeks. Increasing off shore drilling does no good if you haven't increased refinery capacity. Some companies such as Valero are trying to expand the current capacity, but they won't be finished for at least 3 years, and there won't be any new oil rigs popping up for at least 5 years. In 2002 Sen. McCain voted in favor of a bill that Pres. Bush signed into law allowing the oil companies to sell the oil that they extract from American soil on the Worl Oil Market, so who exactly does "Drill here, Drill now" benefit? Research for yourself how long it takes to from oil discovery to gas delivery. Sen. McCain hasn't told you how long it takes to build a single nuclear reactor, nor where or how he plans to store the nuclear waste. We already have a natural gas infrastructure that can be expanded, and cars have been running on compressed natural gas since the mid to late 90's.

    September 18, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
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