U.S. President Barack Obama says the time is right to tax oil and use the money to invest in renewable energy sources. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday defended a plan to propose a $10 per barrel tax on oil, saying the money would be used to make the country more energy secure. During a briefing at the White House, the U.S. leader answered questions from reporters about the tax, telling them the money would be used to help convert the country to renewable forms of energy. He said this is the right time to make this move while gasoline prices are low and a small increase would not disrupt the economy. Set to be officially announced in Obama's fiscal 2017 budget plan on Tuesday, the fee would provide nearly $20 billion a year to help expand transit systems across the country and more than $2 billion a year to support the research and development of self-driving vehicles and other low-carbon technologies. The proposed fee would be paid by oil companies and phased in over five years. Republican lawmakers, who have repeatedly clashed with the Obama administration over energy policy, panned the proposal on social media. House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise asked on Twitter whether the proposal was "Obama's worst idea yet?" The $10 tax would come at a time of tumbling oil prices. Oil prices fell last month to below $30 a barrel, the lowest level since 2003, as demand fails to keep pace with a glut of new supply and the world's biggest oil producers resist cutting production.