From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:
(PITTSBURGH) Tackling high gas prices has been the dominant topic of Barack Obama's three week economy tour and today was no different. Obama hosted an "Economic Competitiveness Summit" at Carnegie Mellon University featuring over a dozen high profile business leaders who he pressed on gas prices and developing alternative energy sources.
"On something as important as our energy policy, we will need the kind of leadership that John F Kennedy showed when he said America is going to the moon," Obama told the group.
Panelist Rick Wagoner, the chairman of General Motoris, said GM will offer eight different hybrid models by the end of this year, but argued that developing biofuel technology is a better alternative. "If you really want to move and diversify our oil sources away from oil, using biofuels is the way we can do it fastest," Wagoner said. He stressed that any shift to alternative energy will be very expensive for both companies and consumers.
General Jim Jones, CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, argued that United States is less stable because of its foreign dependency on oil. He said that roughly 2/3 of U.S. oil and gas is in foreign hands; "We have to free ourselves from that weight and that influence."
Obama proposed investing $150 billion in the green sector, intended in part to spark the development of alternative energy. In recent days, Obama said that he is unsure if gasoline will fall under $4/gallon anytime soon and stressed the need for energy reform.
"I don't have a crystal ball on oil prices, I think that, what we know is that over the next couple of decades, it is likely that the increase in demand is going to far outstrip the increase in supply and that's going to put pressure on prices unless we start doing a better job of using oil and all fossil fuels in a smarter way," he said.