obama state of the union speech

During last night's State of the Union address, President Obama made strong arguments in favor of advanced technology vehicles. Reiterating his call for one million plug-in hybrids and electrics on the road by 2015 and increased use of biofuels, he proclaimed we could win the future through innovation.

To help meet those lofty goals he proposed investing $8 billion – that's $2 billion above today's funding levels if you're keeping score – in next-gen vehicles and batteries. He even had an interesting way of sourcing the desired funds without adding to the debt: from subsidies currently handed out to oil companies. In his own words, "Instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's," Hear, hear.

He also said:

At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

The details of the administration's plan will become more clear in the next few weeks when the budget proposal is released. Besides investments in R&D, they'd like to change the $7,500 plug-in vehicle tax rebate into a point of purchase rebate, meaning everyone would be elegible for the full amount with no waiting. Charging infrastructure development is also high on the wish list. You can go to the White House's SOTU webpage to watch the speech for yourself.

If you want to come down off the high created by the thought of a million plug-in vehicles cruising America in a few short years, remember that we've heard all sorts of big dreams in SOTU addresses before.

[Source: White House / Detroit News | Image: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images]