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Obama: Cut back on oil

President Barack Obama yesterday proposed to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years, setting an ambitious goal that eluded his predecessors as high gasoline prices threatened to undermine the economic recovery.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama yesterday proposed to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years, setting an ambitious goal that eluded his predecessors as high gasoline prices threatened to undermine the economic recovery.

Obama outlined his strategy after spending days explaining the U.S.-led military action in Libya, where fighting, accompanied by unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, has helped push U.S. gasoline prices toward $4 a gallon.

In a speech that was short on details on how to curb U.S. energy demand, Obama did not pretend there were any speedy measures to lower fuel costs that he acknowledged were a “big concern” to Americans.

Heard it before?

Analysts and experts said Obama’s goal is ambitious.

“All U.S. presidents since the early 1970s have outlined ambitious plans to reduce their reliance on imported oil,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Banque Saudi Fransi.

Truly reforming U.S. energy use would involve sweeping changes, including possible fuel taxes to encourage Americans to change their habits, which could be politically toxic, analysts said.

 
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