- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2013

ARGONNE, Ill. — On a day when a jump in gas prices helped end the stock market’s two-week winning streak, President Obama said the U.S. must wean its cars and trucks entirely away from gasoline by the middle of the next decade.

Mr. Obama made the remarks Friday during a visit at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. He said pursuing American energy — both through renewable sources and increased drilling — provides the biggest opportunity for economic growth.

The president called on Congress to provide $200 million a year for a new “energy trust” for research into things like electric car batteries and biofuels. The trust would use revenues from federal leases on offshore drilling.

At the Argonne lab, Mr. Obama toured several research facilities, including a thermal test center for electric cars such as the Chevy Volt. Afterward he told a crowd gathered inside an enormous x-ray machine that the recent federal spending cuts because of the sequester would hurt research at facilities such as Argonne, as well as set back an entire generation of scientists.

Matthew Howard, a spokesman for the laboratory, said the lab faces a 5 percent cut to funding but has not experienced significant impacts to date. Those could come if the sequester, which started taking effect March 1, stretches on with no resolution.

“Our main concern is that sequester will hurt us in the long term,” he said. “It will really devastate American science while the rest of this world is racing forward, we will be frozen. …Excitement about the new projects will be cut off.”