Obama mandated MPG 35.5 by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. That is the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history. He is also pushing hard for solar (with a few bumps and grinds), as well as wind. Since energy is local (solar works better in AZ, while wind works better in ND), we need to look at all available options, as there is no "one size fits all" By the way, wood is the preferred heating source in VT.
Yes, we all need to walk and bike more, and perhaps drive a lot less (How about parking a little farther from the mall entrance and walking, instead of driving around for 15 minutes looking for a closer parking space?)
There are so many things that we can do to decrease energy consumption without negatively impacting our quality of life. But then the oil companies wouldn't make as much money.
I agree with energy subsidies to jump start technologies so that they are there when we need them less we get caught holding the bag when oil and natural gas run out. This can be done by giving tax credits to the end user. I can even agree with excluding foreign products from qualifying for these credits so that US companies get a competitive advantage. However this latter condition can be a problem if it causes our companies to lag others because the tax credits made us less aggressive in seeking cost reductions in which case you can create a situation where your companies can never compete on their own without subsidies.
What I don't agree with is going to specific US companies and giving them money and thus giving them advantage over other US companies that do not receive the same unless you give the same amount of funding to all US companies so you are not deciding the winners and the losers. Also, in the past, the companies who received this financial aid were contributors to Obama's campaign and that makes it look like graft, which basically it is as that is what rewarding the people who voted for you is and it encourages more political contributions in the future which obviously is not condoned by anyone with a solid moral foundation. It is almost impossible to keep a handle on this and for this reason I am hugely opposed to it. I’d rather not see the entire country transformed into a Chicago styled scenario where graft is seen as the normal way to do government business.
NASA developed space exploration almost entirely funded by the government. Now look at all of the things that have evolved from that effort. Today the private sector has pretty much taken it over, and the government is mostly out of the picture. Sometimes it takes big government to develop big ideas, and then they can be passed on to the private sector which may be able to run them more efficiently, and make a profit. If the development of something is in the national interest, it may take the government to take the risk to develop it. But eventually, when we are all driving cars that get 200 mpg, and electricity is truly so cheap that it won't even be metered (that was the initial hope with nuclear), you will all thank the government for taking the risk to develop them. By the way the volt is a GM (Government Motors) product.
When word of mouth spreads on the efficiency of the Volt-type plug in hybrids, the American consumer will accelerate avg MPG much faster than the mandates.
If we have people like Raybans on board already, we will be an oil exporting nation sooner than anyone can imagine, provided we dont get a republican neocon fool in in '16 to turn it all backwards like Reagan did.