President Obama Speaks About Fuel Efficiency Standards

The president talks at a D.C.-area Safeway Distribution Center of "reducing America's dependence on foreign oil."
3:00 | 02/18/14

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Transcript for President Obama Speaks About Fuel Efficiency Standards
Ladies and gentlemen the president of the United States. We're and I want to thank. -- -- And all the -- -- for having us here today. This busy distribution center work delivery trucks. Get everything from the windows to -- Where they need to go. -- You know by the way I have a lot of soft spot for -- in my heart because some you know I'd a went to high school and why -- because of my grandparents and our main grocery store was -- brought down. And -- my grandmother would send me out to go shop and Safeway. -- there always treated me very well so -- very much appreciate the good work you guys do. I don't want to thank all the workers and and business people and labor leaders and environmental leaders who were here today. As we take another big step. To grow our economy and reduce America's dependence on foreign -- wrong. In my State of the Union Address -- said this would be a year of action and -- meant. So over the past three weeks I've acted require federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour. Because we believe. In a higher minimum wage. I've ordered an across the board reform -- job training programs so we can train workers with the skills that employers actually knee. And -- them to the good jobs that are. -- there right now need to be felt. I directed the treasury secretary of the created something we're calling -- all right it's a new way. To help working Americans start saving for retirement. And we brought together business leaders who committed to helping more unemployed Americans find work no matter how long they would look. So the point is I'm eager to work with congress -- I can't. But whatever I -- -- on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans and help build our middle class on them do that. And all of you I think understand that. Although the economy has been doing better we've spent the past five years fighting our way back from the worst recession some of our lifetimes. Now the economy strong our business have created -- -- and a half million new jobs over the past four years. The unemployment rates actually the lowest it's been in over five years but. The -- is the long term trends that have hurt middle class families for decades. Have considered. Folks at the top -- better than ever before. Average wages and incomes have -- would much. Two -- you Americans are working harder than ever just keep up. So our job -- -- not only get the economy growing but also to reverse these trends. And make sure that. Everybody. Can succeed we've got to build an economy that works for everybody not just fortunate few -- Opportunity for all that's the essence of America no matter who you -- no matter where you come from the matter how you start out. If you want to work hard and take responsibility you can succeed. So I've laid out an opportunity -- -- to help us do that. Part one now is create more new jobs that pay good wages jobs and manufacturing. Energy exports innovation. Part two we gotta train folks with the skills they need to fill those jobs. Part three we got a guarantee every child access to world class education. Part four is making sure that the economy rewards hard work. With the equal pay for equal work and wages you can -- well. Savings you could retire -- Health insurance you can count on that slip when you need. Now. The very few factors that are helping grow our economy more bring -- more good jobs back to America. -- our commitment. To American manufacturing and American editor that's why we're here to that. Five years ago. We set out to break our dependence on foreign law. And today America is closer to energy independence. That we've been in decades for the first time in nearly twenty years. America produces more oil here at home -- we buy from other countries. -- levels. Dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change has actually gone down even as our production has gone up. And one of the reasons why is because we dedicated ourselves. To manufacturing that new cars and new trucks the go farther -- -- delegates. And that saves families money. It cuts down harmful pollution. It creates new advances in American technology. So for decades the fuel efficiency standards but cars and trucks was stuck in neutral. Even those other kind of technology and -- cool. And that left families and businesses and our economy vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices every time all -- shot up. The economy. Got herder. -- auto makers were in danger of being left in the dust. By foreign auto makers. Carbon pollution was going unchecked -- -- Having severe impacts I don't know whether. And that's why after take an office. My administration worked with the auto makers auto workers. Environmental advocates. And states across the country and we put quote we we sudden motion. The first ever national policy aimed at. Both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. And as auto makers retool it. And prepared to sort of -- of the world's best cars again. We need to raise fuel economy standards to 35. Point five miles per gallon for new vehicles by 26 think. Yeah wow. An increase of more than eight miles per gallon. Over what. Cause an average at the time. And and what we were clear about was. If you send a ruling that -- -- a clear role. We would give our company is the certainty that they needed to. To innovate and out build the rest of the world they they could figure that if they had a goal that they were trying to reach. And thanks to their ingenuity and hard work. We're going to meet that goal. Two years later -- we've already seen enormous progress. And we're building on that progress by setting. And even more ambitious target we're gonna double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon gas. By two point one problem -- a double. And that means. What amazes. You gotta fill up every two weeks instead -- -- And that saves the typical family more than 8000 dollars. At the pumps overtime. I'm assuming you can -- it but it thousand dollars. That you're not him at the gas station. In the process it -- American oil consumption by twelve billion barrels. So we can we -- the auto makers decide how their -- no we simply go listen go figure it out. And they invested in innovative and and cost effective technologies and some are denied because the being the target. Of nearly 55 miles per gallon. They've got plug in hybrids they -- electric vehicles. The take advantage of the investments. That the Recovery Act made an American advances in battery technology is so -- -- getting better. And they're getting more fuel efficient all the time. And for anybody who said this could be done. Or that it would herder the American auto industry the American auto industry sold more cars last year than -- since 2000 -- And since we stepped in to help -- auto makers retool. Since we stepped and stepped in to help the auto makers -- the American auto industry is create get. Almost 425000. New jobs. So we raise fuel efficiency and help consumers. Helped improve air quality -- And get will -- -- -- cause and ever and the auto makers are higher. Folks again for good jobs all across. More plants are running. More plants are running at full capacity summer -- running three shifts 24 hours -- -- Churning out some of the most high tech fuel efficient high performance because in the world. And that's a story of American engine of American grit and everybody has a right to be proud of -- But today. We're taking the next step. Heavy duty trucks. Account for just 4% of all the vehicles on the highway. I don't when you drive and sometimes it feels like -- more. But have -- 4% of all news. But -- responsible for about 20% of carbon pollution in the transportation -- it. -- trucks -- these. Are responsible for about 20%. Of all on the road fuel consumption. And because -- all about 70% of all domestic -- 70% of the stuff we use -- -- from plastering TVs to diapers. -- -- it you nightmare. Every mile all that we gain in fuel. Efficiency. Is worth thousands of dollars of savings every year. So that's why we're investing in research. To get more fuel economy gains. And thanks to a partnership. Between industry. And my administration. The truck behind me. Was able to achieve a 75%. Improvement in fuel economy over the last year 75%. It's like all -- -- super truck. It's -- This -- it as well. I made -- that these these are. First of all the really -- But you can see how there. Have they redesigned the truck. In order for us to save. Fuel economy. And improving gas mileage for these trucks. Are gonna drive down auto imports even murder that reduces carbon pollution even more cuts down. On businesses fuel cost. Which should pay off in lower prices for consumers. Look it's not just a win win it's a win win win. -- three weeks. In 2011 we set new standards for medium and heavy duty trucks to take effect this year and last until -- -- Three weeks ago in my State of the Union Address us that we build on that success. Today yet I'm directing the sector transportation. Anthony -- is right -- former mayor of Charlotte. And Gina McCarthy the administrator. Two outstanding public so. -- charge they're there. Goal is to develop fuel economy standards for heavy duty trucks. That will take us well into the next decade just like our cars. -- -- when manufacturers and auto workers and states. And other stakeholders. Truckers. To come up with a proposal by march of next year -- complete -- -- a year after that. And businesses that buy these types of trucks have sent a clear message to the nearly 30000 workers who build. We want trucks -- -- also. Save more money cut pollution. So -- 43 competence. Have joined our national clean fleets partnership. To reduce their oil consumption or replace their old fleets of trucks -- more fuel efficient months. And collectively they operate about one million commercial vehicles nationwide so. There's lot of companies and some are competitors. And if rivals like PepsiCo and Coca call. Or UPS and FedEx. Or eighteen AT&T and Verizon. -- Megan joined together on this. The may -- Democrats and Republicans can design. And you see this come as -- electorate and national natural gas power delivery or garbage trucks it's due to this partnership. And the reason we're here is because Safeway. Was an early leader on the session. By approving the aerodynamics of its trucks investing in larger trailers. More efficient tires. Safe ways to improve its own fuel efficiency and the results are so solid. Let's say between now and -- all the companies it hires to -- its products. To do the same. So to help our businesses and manufacturers meet this new goal. We're offering new tax credits both for companies that manufacture. Heavy duty alternative fuel vehicles. And those that build fuel infrastructure so that trucks running on biodiesel and natural gas -- Hybrid electric technology they'll have more places to fill up. Obviously that's the good of the -- -- something -- ambitious. But these -- as -- ambition has worked out really well for so far -- make small players make big ones. And anybody. Who had dire predictions. For the auto industry said we couldn't do what -- manufacturers couldn't bring jobs back to America every time they say that a proven wrong. Every time -- says you can grow the economy. While bring about pollution. Is turned up at the wrong. Anybody who says. When it comes to clean energy technologies like solar wind they've had to eat those words. You can bet against American workers or American industry you can't vote against America otherwise you're gonna lose money every time because we know how to do this woman -- Broad and ambitious goal of so from one we've known we -- rebuild our economy and and transition to a clean energy future and we knew it wouldn't be easy or quick. We got a lot of work to do on both counts but the economy has -- We're creating jobs were generated more clean energy were cutting our dependence on -- well we're pumping out less dangerous carbon pollution. If we keep going down this world. That we're gonna have a future full of good paying jobs. We've got assembly lines that are humming with the components of -- clean energy. We got more of the best trucks and -- the world designed and engineered made in America. If we keep on going well we're gonna -- better future for our children. And I'm proud of -- And all its workers for helping to show us the way if it can be done here it can be done all across the country so congratulations. --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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