Obama: Tax Every Barrel of Oil Imported and Exported, Use the Money for Transportation

By Susan Jones | February 8, 2016 | 10:02am EST
President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, during a news conference at the White House. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama said on Friday he's going to "take advantage of low gas prices to accelerate a transition to a clean energy economy."

"We're going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil imported, exported, so that some of that revenue can be used for transportation. Some of that revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that's going to be needed for the energy sources of the future."

Obama wants to add a new, $10-per-barrel tax on crude oil, something that would harm consumers, according to the oil industry.

“The White House thinks Americans are not paying enough for gasoline, so they have proposed a new tax that could raise the cost of gasoline by 25 cents a gallon, harm consumers that are enjoying low energy prices, destroy American jobs and reverse America’s emergence as a global energy leader," said the American Petroleum Institute.

Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday that he'll probably deliver a "larger speech" on oil and energy -- "and the direction that we need to go on this."

In the meantime, he gave reporters a quick look at his thinking:

Although gas prices are low right now, "we know that's not going to last," the president said.

"You know, every one of us have seen cycles where gas prices go down and then they pop back up. And the idea here is that if we say to oil companies, which by the way, got a significant benefit when we, in the omnibus, allowed them for the first time to export oil. Up until that point, domestic oil producers couldn't export.

"So if we say to them now, all right, oil companies, we know that you're having to retool. We know that prices are low right now. You're allowed to export. But what we're also saying is that we're going to provide -- we're going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil imported, exported, so that some of that revenue can be used for transportation. Some of that revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that's going to be needed for the energy sources of the future.

"Then 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now, we're going to be in a much stronger position when oil starts getting tight again; prices start going up again. We will have further weaned our economy off of dirty fuels. We will have not just made environmental progress, but we'll also have a much stronger economy, a stronger infrastructure.

"We will be creating the jobs of the future. And I think we'll look back and we'll say that was a smart investment. That was a wise decision for us to make.

"But the point is, it's right to do it now when gas prices are really low. And they will be low for quite some time to come. So, it's not going to be a disruptive factor in terms of the economy."

In his Saturday radio address, Obama said the budget he sends to Congress on Tuesday "will double funding for clean energy research and development by 2020."

He said the money would "help the private sector create more jobs faster, lower the cost of clean energy faster, and help clean, renewable power outcompete dirty fuels in every state."

On Monday, Obama's Energy Department announced $21 million in new funding to "lower the solar energy deployment barriers and expand access to solar energy to all Americans."

According to the announcement, "The funding announced today will help states set and meet their renewable energy goals. This initiative will also "build our understanding of how and why solar technologies are adopted to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for families and businesses to choose solar to power their daily lives."

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