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Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Clinton Offers Relief for Record Gas Prices

March 14, 2008

Hillary Clinton will visit a gas station in Pittsburgh to discuss her plan to offer relief from skyrocketing gas prices that are hurting the pocketbooks of families in Pennsylvania and across the country. At the Curran Gulf Gas Station, Hillary will be joined by the owner, Jay Curran, gas station employees, and Janice Hodge, a local resident who has been forced to cut back on other household expenses due to the high cost of gas.

"I think it's time we kicked the oil men out of the White House. Unfortunately, despite a lot of talk about clean energy, Senator Obama voted for Dick Cheney's budget-busting tax breaks for big oil. And Senator McCain opposes eliminating them," said Clinton. "I will provide solutions to offer relief from record gas prices, end our addiction to foreign oil, protect the planet, and create millions of new jobs."

Pennsylvania's average gas price reached an all-time record high of $3.23 this week, and diesel fuel is over $4.00 per gallon in many places - even higher than the records set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. In Pittsburgh, the price of a gallon of regular gas has been steadily climbing. Today it is $3.27. A month ago, it was $3.03. A year ago, it was $2.58. The typical Pennsylvania driver is paying nearly $1,100 more per year for gas than they did when President Bush took office. Pennsylvania gas prices are $1.81 higher than they were in January of 2001, so the average driver using 600 gallons of gasoline per year is paying $1,086 more on gasoline now than in 2001.

With gas prices setting new records almost every day, Hillary Clinton is committed to making the investments in alternative energy that will end our dependence on foreign oil and lower the cost of energy for Pennsylvania's families. Hillary's plan is below:

Hillary Clinton's Plan to Address the Skyrocketing Costs of Oil by Moving Towards Energy Independence

As President Hillary would lead us on a path, towards clean, renewable energy investments to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by:

Investing $150 Billion in Clean Energy, Including Establishing a $50 Billion Strategic Energy Fund to Demand that Oil Companies Invest in Clean Energy - Last year, Exxon reported the highest profits in the history of the world - $40.6 billion - and the five largest oil companies have pulled in more than $500 billion in profit during the Bush Administration. Yet in 2005, Exxon Mobil's CEO told Congress that his company's investment in alternative energy technologies over the prior decade was "negligible." Hillary would give oil companies a choice: invest more in renewable energy technology or pay a portion of their exorbitant profits into a Strategic Energy Fund. The Strategic Energy Fund would also eliminate oil company tax breaks and make sure that oil companies pay their fair share in royalties when drilling on public lands. This fund would jumpstart a clean energy future by injecting $50 billion over ten years into research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol and other homegrown biofuels. The Strategic Energy Fund is one element of Senator Clinton's proposal to invest $150 billion in the research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies that will reduce our oil imports and cut global warming pollution.

Increasing Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards to 55 Miles Per Gallon - As president, Hillary would raise fuel economy standards to 40 mpg in 2020 and 55 mpg in 2030. By 2030, these tough standards will save consumers more than $180 billion per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 730 million metric tons. Cars and light trucks account for about 40 percent of the 21 million barrels of oil consumed every day in the United States. As our country and economy have grown, flat fuel economy standards over the last twenty years has meant increasing dependence on foreign oil, and an untenable foreign trade situation in which the United States borrows money from China to send to Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich regimes.

Putting 2,000 "Plug-In" Hybrid School Buses on the Road - Pennsylvania's Nazareth Area School District is a pioneer when it comes to school buses. Along with 14 other communities around the country, they have invested in a new type of school bus - a plug-in hybrid bus - that gets as much as twice the mileage as regular school buses while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by one-third and nitrogen emissions by half. Hybrid school buses use electric power, which is significantly cleaner than diesel fuel. These buses look the same as regular school buses, but are powered by large battery packs. They recover energy as they brake and charge the batteries while the bus is slowing down, a system that is ideal for buses because of their frequent stops. They are charged overnight and between shifts during the day, a process that can be easily managed through the city lots in which school buses are parked each evening. In fact, about one-third of communities already have the infrastructure to plug in school buses, because they rely upon plug-in block heaters to keep the engines warm in the winter. Today, plug-in hybrid buses costs $100,000 more than regular buses, but at higher production volumes, the premium will drop to $40,000 - an amount that is more than made up for through reduced fuel costs over the 15 year lifetime of the bus. As president, Hillary will split the added costs with school districts for the first 2,000 plug-in hybrid buses. This investment will lower the cost for school districts like Nazareth that want to be pioneers.

Accelerating the Production of "Plug-In" Hybrid Electric Cars - Hillary will also work to ensure that Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), hybrid car with powerful batteries that can be plugged into any regular outlet, are available to individual drivers. Half the cars on America's roads are driven 25 miles a day or less, so a plug-in with a 25-mile range battery could eliminate gasoline use in the daily commute of tens of millions of Americans. A recent study showed that a vehicle powered by electricity releases one-third less global warming pollution into the environment than a gasoline powered vehicle, even if the electricity comes mostly from coal-fired power plants. PHEVs that are recharged using wind or other renewable power would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by much more. PHEVs offer the promise of achieving more than 100 miles per gallon of gasoline consumed; and a flex-fuel PHEV running on E85 can potentially get 500 miles per gallon of gasoline. Hillary would invest in research and stimulate demand for the first commercial PHEVs by:

  • Investing $2 billion in research and development to reduce the cost and increase the longevity and durability of batteries;
  • Offering consumers tax credits of up to $10,000 for purchasing a plug-in hybrid; and
  • Adding 100,000 PHEVs to the federal fleet by 2015.

Increasing production of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030 - Home-grown biofuels can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Rapid growth of corn ethanol production capacity in recent years and emerging technology that will enable production of ethanol and other biofuels from a range of biomass sources indicate the potential of biofuels to displace a significant amount of gasoline. To spur increased production of ethanol and other renewable fuels, Hillary would raise the national renewable fuels goal to 60 billion gallons by 2030. "Advanced biofuels," such as cellulosic ethanol, would comprise an increasing share of that target over time. Hillary will set a greenhouse gas emissions target for cellulosic and other advanced biofuels to ensure that they move over time towards a standard of emitting at least 80% less greenhouse gas as compared to gasoline. In addition, she would provide loan guarantees to spur the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol capacity.

Providing Immediate Relief from Upward Pressure on Oil Prices by Freezing Additions to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve - Hillary is calling on President Bush to put a one year moratorium on taking oil off the market and putting it into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is now 97 percent full, and continuing to fill it at these high prices does not make economic sense.

Calling on the Federal Trade Commission to Investigate Market Manipulation in Wholesale Oil Prices - The energy bill passed last year included new provisions to prevent manipulation in wholesale oil markets, and to empower the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and pursue violations. To ensure that oil companies and traders are not ripping off consumers, Hillary is calling on the FTC to begin investigations using these new powers.

Senators Obama and McCain Stand for Big Oil Companies, Not Pennsylvania Families

As Pennsylvania families are struggling to cope with the rising cost of oil, oil companies are reaping record-high profits. Yet because of the Bush Administration's failure to change course on energy policy, we find ourselves more dependent on foreign oil now than we were before 9/11. Sadly, when Senator Obama had the chance to stand up against Dick Cheney's energy policies, he instead voted yes and helped bring us these huge tax cuts for big oil. Going forward, Senator McCain appears to be offering more of the same:

  • Senator Obama voted for the 2005 energy bill, which provided billions in tax subsidies and giveaways to big oil. This bill was called the "The Best Energy Bill Corporations Could Buy," by Public Citizen. It provided $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies; $9 billion in coal subsidies; $12 billion in nuclear subsidies; and a host of other oil and gas regulatory rollbacks, including exempting a coalbed methane drilling technique called "hydraulic fracturing," from the Safe Drinking Water Act - an act that could make our drinking water unsafe. Senator Clinton opposed this bill because she believed we ought to be investing in alternative and renewable energy, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Senator Obama supported this bill. [Vote Number 213, 7/29/05. Final passage on H.R. 6, the conference report for the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Conference report passed, Obama: Voted Aye. Clinton: Voted No.]
  • As a Presidential candidate, Senator McCain is proposing to cut corporate taxes for oil companies by $4 billion a year. This includes a $1.4 billion tax cut for Exxon, the most profitable company in history. On January 17, Senator McCain proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. Independent organizations from the Congressional Budget Office to Moody's agree that a corporate rate cut is among the least effective ways to jumpstart our economy. [Moody's Economy.com, "Assessing the Macro Economic Impact of Fiscal Stimulus 2008" January 2008; CBO, "Options for Responding to Short-term Economic Weakness" January 2008]. Indeed, in 2001, Senator McCain himself mocked the idea that corporate tax cuts would provide immediate economic benefit. [Arizona Daily Star, 11/29/01]. This proposal would cost over $100 billion per year, including $4 billion for the five biggest oil companies. Instead of spending this on oil companies, Hillary would take that $4 billion and invest it immediately in creating good, middle class jobs in green sectors of our economy. If we make immediate, emergency investments in green collar job training programs, fast tracked green infrastructure programs and crash weatherization for families' homes, we can put people to work, clean our environment and help pull our economy out of recession.
  • In the Senate, he has failed to support legislation that would eliminate tens of billions of dollars of oil company tax breaks to fund clean energy technologies. On December 13, Senator McCain failed to show up to vote cast the deciding vote in favor of a bill that would have would have closed $13 billion in tax loopholes for oil companies to pay for clean energy investments and incentives. [Vote Number 425, 12/13/07. Cloture on H.R. 6 (Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007). Cloture Vote Failed 59-40. McCain: Not Voting]

Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Clinton Offers Relief for Record Gas Prices Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/293142

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