Obama turns focus to research in 1st energy speech of term

March 15, 2013 13:18
1 minute read.

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will try to turn the page on bitterly partisan fights over energy policy on Friday, focusing his first energy speech of his second term on proposing a modest new fund to support research.

Obama will tour the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago known for its groundbreaking research into advanced batteries used in electric cars, and will talk about the need to find more ways to wean cars and trucks off oil, White House officials said.

Obama is proposing a fund that will draw $2 billion over 10 years from royalties the government receives from offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

The research would be aimed at new ways to lower the cost of vehicles that run on electricity, biofuels, natural gas or other non-oil fuel sources.

"It squirrels away a set of resources that even in a difficult budgetary environment, will give researchers in the private sector certainty," a White House official told reporters ahead of Obama's trip.

The United States has a newfound wealth of oil and natural gas resources made possible by hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" and other drilling advancements, but consumers still face high prices at the pumps because gasoline prices are tied to world markets.

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