Asked About Rising Gas Prices, Obama Says, 'Think About A Trade-In’

By Susan Jones | April 7, 2011 | 8:45 AM EDT

President Barack Obama participates in a town hall meeting with workers at Gamesa Wind PA factory in Fairless Hills, Pa., on April 6, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

( - At a gathering in Pennsylvania Wednesday, President Obama told a man who questioned him about rising gas prices to think about trading in his gas guzzler for a vehicle with better mileage.

With demand for oil contributing to the price hike – and on top of that, the upheavels in the Middle East making folks “nervous” -- President Obama said there are three things the U.S. can do – but nothing that will work in the next few weeks.

One solution, he said,  is to increase U.S. oil production. But, he added, “We can’t just drill our way out of the problem. And that’s why the second thing we can do is increase efficiency on cars and trucks, which is where most of our oil is used.”    

Obama said the third step is to “start looking at electric cars, and maybe natural gas cars, so that we’re not just using petroleum to power our vehicles.”

Addressing the questioner, Obama conceded, “None of that is going to help you this week, though. So, like I said, if you’re getting eight miles a gallon you may want to think about a trade-in.  You can get a great deal.  I promise you, GM or Ford or Chrysler, they’re going to be happy to give you a deal on something that gets you better gas mileage.”

When he mentioned the need to boost fuel efficiency for cars and truck, Obama singled out some in the audience for applauding:

“Now, I notice some folks clapped, but I know some of these big guys, they’re all still driving their big SUVs.  You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything.  You’re one of them?  Well, now, here’s my point.  If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon  -- you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big.  How many you have?  Ten kids, you say?  Ten kids?  (Laughter.)  Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then. (Laughter.)

President Obama discussed his vision of a 21st century “clean energy economy” at the  Gamesa Plant in Fair Hills, Pennsylvania.