Across the country, American families and businesses are feeling the impact of higher gasoline prices. But while some politicians may claim they have a quick fix, the truth is that in the years to come, prices will continue to go up more than they go down. There are only long-term solutions.
America holds only 2 percent of the world’s proven oil resources, and we consume about 25 percent of the global supply. We cannot drill our way to low gas prices or energy independence.
This week, President Obama called on our nation to put an end – once and for all – to our dependence on foreign oil. He set a goal of cutting one-third of our oil imports and securing America’s energy future with domestic production. Renewable energy – and particularly biofuels – present an extraordinary opportunity to grow our economy, build new industries, put Americans to work, and minimize risks to our environment.
This will take time and effort. It will require our brightest scientists and our most innovative companies. It will take Democrats, Republicans, and everyone in between. And the movement to embrace renewable energy is already happening in rural America.
Today, rural Americans produce biofuels that help provide nearly 10 percent of the power for our nation’s cars and trucks. Rural America provides much of our nation’s renewable electricity supply – generating power from wood, biofuels, wind, and geothermal sources. But today, only 8 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources – and another 34 percent from natural gas and nuclear production.
To reach the President’s goal of supplying 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, rural America will have to continue to lead the way, with new production and efforts to embrace energy efficiency.
And we must move away from the foreign oil that means regular run-ups in gas prices.
At USDA, I have set out a comprehensive strategy for how we will work with our sister federal departments, states and private businesses to build a national biofuels industry and do just that.
We have established five regional research centers working on the science necessary to ensure profitable biofuels can be produced from a diverse range of feedstocks. We are investing in construction of biofuels production facilities that will dot the rural landscape. And we are helping build the infrastructure to get biofuels in America’s gas tanks.
By investing in a clean energy economy, we can out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world to win the future. And we must begin today, for the sake of our economy, our prosperity, and future generations.