LEMONT, Ill. (AP) — President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to authorize $200 million a year for research into clean-energy technologies that can wean automobiles off oil.
Obama proposed the idea of an energy security trust last month in his State of the Union address, but he was putting a price tag on the idea during a trip today to the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago — $2 billion over 10 years. The White House said the research would be paid for with revenue from federal oil and gas leases on offshore drilling and would not add to the deficit.
The money would fund research on "breakthrough" technologies such as batteries for electric cars and biofuels made from switch grass or other materials. Researchers also would look to improve use of natural gas as a fuel for cars and trucks.
Obama got a firsthand look at some of the cutting-edge vehicle research in a tour of an Argonne's lab, including a room that can go to extreme temperatures to test the impact on fuel efficiency. He talked to engineers working on electric-car batteries and on an engine that runs on diesel and gasoline to reduce fuel costs.
"We want to keep on funding them," the president said as he looked at the engine, developed with public and private funding from Chrysler. "That's what I'm trying to tell Congress"