WASHINGTON: Taking issue with a Republican budget proposal that calls for steep cuts in energy programmes, President Barack Obama said yesterday that higher gas prices require investments in renewable energy.
In his weekly address, Obama called again for an end to the $4 billion in tax breaks the oil and gas industry receives each year.
"Instead of subsidising yesterday's energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow's," he said .
"We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. In the long- term, that's the answer."
Rising petrol prices are expected to be a crucial factor in next year's presidential election, and Obama has ramped up his public statements on the issue.
Earlier this week, he pointed the finger at what he called oil "speculators," before announcing the creation of a Department of Justice working group to probe oil price fraud and speculation.
The industry's billions in tax subsidies were also singled out for criticism during his State of the Union address in February.
"That's $4bn of your money going to these companies when they're making record profits and you're paying near record prices at the pump," he said in his address. "It has to stop."
The Republican budget plan, aimed at dramatically reducing the $14 trillion deficit, calls for steep cuts in transportation and energy, including slashing by 70 per cent a Department of Energy loan guarantee programme that supports wind farms and solar installations.
The Obama budget calls for a 70pc rise in spending for renewable fuels. "I've proposed a balanced approach that cuts spending while investing in things like education and clean energy critical to creating jobs and opportunities for the middle class."