Facing continued deterioration in the American automakers financial picture and lack of improvement in the fuel-efficiency of the U.S. auto fleet, Senator Obama has made persuasive arguments for the Health Care for Hybrids initiative in remarks to the Governor's Ethanol Summit in February 2006 "Energy Security is National Security."
"So here's the deal we can make with the auto companies. It's a piece of legislation I introduced called 'Health Care for Hybrids,' and it would allow the federal government to pick up part of the tab for the auto companies' retiree health care costs. In exchange, the auto companies would then use some of that savings to build and invest in more fuel-efficient cars. It's a win-win proposal for the industry - their retirees will be taken care of, they'll save money on health care, and they'll be free to invest in the kind of fuel-efficient cars that are the key to their competitive future."
Senator Obama goes on to propose federal investment incentives for home-grown biofuels: "But the challenge we face with these biofuels is getting them out of the labs, out of the farms, and onto the wider commercial market. Every scientific study in the world could sing the praises of biofuels, but you might still be hard-pressed to find an investor willing to take the risk on a cellulosic ethanol plant or a brand-name petroleum company willing to build an E85 fueling station."
"The federal government can help * * *. [W]e can reduce the risk of investing. * * * By developing an Energy Technology Program at the Defense Department, we can provide loan guarantees and venture capital to those with the best plans to develop and sell biofuels on a commercial market. The Defense Department will also hold a competition where private corporations get funding to see who can build the best new alternative-fuel plant. The Department can then use these new technologies to improve the energy security of our own military."
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He closes with an appeal to American values and spirit of independence:
"This is our chance to step up and serve. The war against international terrorism has pitted us against a new kind of enemy that wages terror in new and unconventional ways. At home, fighting that enemy won't require us to build the massive war machine that Franklin Roosevelt called for so many years ago, but it will require us to harness our own renewable forms of energy so that oil can never be used as a weapon against America. From farmers and scientists to entrepreneurs and governors, everyone has a role to play in this effort. In fact, this afternoon I'm sitting down with business and military leaders to discuss this very topic."