March 7th, 2012
04:56 PM ET
Mt. Holly, NC (CNN) – President Obama visited the politically important state of North Carolina to release the latest initiative in his strategy to lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil.
The initiative is aimed at increasing alternatives to oil and improving fuel efficiency in vehicles. It includes accelerating production of alternative-fuel vehicles and offering a $10,000 discount in the form of a tax credit for purchasers of cars with clean and advanced technology.
“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy - not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels,” he explained. “We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That’s the only solution to the challenge.”
North Carolina, which Mr. Obama narrowly won in his 2008 bid for the presidency, is a key battleground state. It faces an unemployment rate of 10.4%, higher than the national average of 8.3%.
“Most of you have probably filled up your gas tank a time or two in the last week, and you've seen how quickly the price of gas is going up. A lot of you may have to drive a distance to work. Higher gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck,” the president said.
But he said that large corporations are hit even harder.
“For companies that operate a whole fleet of trucks, the higher costs can make a big difference in terms of the profitability of the company,” President Obama said.
Although the trip to the Tar Heel state was an official visit and not a campaign event, it comes on the heels of visits by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Before the end of his remarks the president took a swipe at his critics, although he didn’t call out any of his opponents by name.
“The next time you hear some politician trotting out some three point plan for two dollar gas, you let him know we know better,” he said referring to Newt Gingrich’s plan. “Tell them we are tired of hearing phony election year promises that never come about.”