Discuss as:

Obama talks gas prices

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- As Congress holds hearings on Capitol Hill, demanding to know why oil and gas companies like Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are earning billions as the price of gas creeps upward, Obama made some promises of his own on how he would cut the cost of fuel.

"Gas prices are killing folks," Obama said. "I got an email from a friend of mine; it says, just in case you're not living in the real world, being driven around by Secret Service, it just cost me $85 to fill up my tank."

Referencing his Pennsylvania ad, which features Obama in at a gas station decrying the price of gas, Obama said Exxon-Mobil had made $11 billion in profits just last month. In Pennsylvania, according to the Web site, PennsylvaniaGasPrices.com, the average price of gas is $3.28 a gallon. One year ago, it was $2.69 per gallon.

"They have been in fat city for a long time," Obama said of Exxon and other oil and gas companies. "They are not necessarily putting that money into refinery capacity, which could potentially relieve some of the bottlenecks in our gasoline supply. And so that is something we have to go after. I think we can go after the windfall profits of some of these companies."

Obama, a proponent of ethanol, said the country needed to do more to increase production and incorporate ethanol that used sugarcane not just corn. He also said that the internal combustible engine had seen its last days.

"We should also be investing in new technologies," he said, "so we can replace the internal combustible engine, which has served us well, but it's time for us to move on, because we want to get rid of fossil fuels."

And in keeping with his campaign message, he offered a "hopeful" example of how the U.S. would find a way to meet its energy needs.

"When John F. Kennedy said we were going to the moon, the engineers and all those guys with the pocket protectors and the glasses at NASA, they all pulled out their slide rulers and said, 'How are we going to do that?' " Obama said. "They didn't know how it was going to get done. But once we set a clear goal and Americans buy into that goal, then nothing can stop us. The same is true on energy."