President Obama said Saturday that his blueprint to expand ‘clean’ energy and efficiency will help bring more good news on jobs following Friday’s report on March employment levels.

The comments show that the White House is hoping the better-than-expected jobs report can provide momentum for energy policies that have become a major political focus for the administration of late.

“This week, we learned that the economy added 230,000 private sector jobs last month. That makes 1.8 million private sector jobs created in the last thirteen months. That’s a good sign,” Obama said in his weekly address.


“But we have to keep up the momentum, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will help us do that. It will ensure that the United States of America is home to the jobs and industries of tomorrow,” he added.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs last month, beating expectations. Private-sector employment rose by 230,000 jobs but that was offset somewhat by the loss of some local government employment. 

The BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE-no-agreement-on-budget-but-time-to-get-moving" mce_href="">Republican weekly address focused on job creation, too, but House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio) said growth would come from cuts to federal spending and regulation. 

Obama spoke from a UPS plant in Maryland where on Friday he announced a new partnership with large companies – including PepsiCo and FedEx – to reduce their fleets’ oil use with hybrid and electric vehicles, alternative fuels and other steps that trim oil consumption.

The “clean fleets” partnership is part of a broader White House energy plan that has emerged following the collapse of a sweeping climate change and energy bill in Congress last year.

Obama is emphasizing expanded fuel and building efficiency, electric vehicles, increased green energy R&D spending, and domestic oil-and-gas development, especially in areas that have already been leased to oil companies.

His plans also call for a “clean energy standard” under which power companies would be required to expand generation from low-carbon sources including renewables, nuclear power and natural gas.

Obama used a major speech at Georgetown University Wednesday to call for cutting oil imports by one-third by 2025.

“Part of this strategy involves increasing our oil exploration right here in America.  In fact, our oil production last year reached its highest level since 2003, and we want to encourage more safe, responsible drilling where we can,” Obama said in Saturday's address.

However, he added: “But the truth is, drilling alone is not a real strategy to replace our dependence on foreign oil,” and noted that the U.S. accounts for a fourth of world oil demand but has just two percent of the world’s reserves.

“Even if we used every last drop of all the oil we have, it wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term energy needs.  So, real energy security can only come if we find ways to use less oil – if we invest in cleaner fuels and greater efficiency,” he said.

He tied his broader strategy on alternative fuels and efficiency to consumer savings by noting that fuel economy rules his administration earlier enacted will mean less spent on gasoline.

The link comes as rising gasoline prices loom as a major political threat.

“We secured an agreement from all the major auto companies to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars and trucks.  So if you buy a new car, the better gas mileage is going to save you about $3,000.  Altogether, this will save us about 1.8 billion barrels of oil as a country,” Obama said.

“We need to build on this progress. As we make our cars and trucks more efficient, we’ve got to harness new technologies to fuel our vehicles with everything from biofuels to natural gas to advanced batteries,” he said.

Major parts of Obama’s agenda face GOP resistance, including his call for a “clean” standard for utilities and efforts to increase federal spending on green energy R&D.

But his weekly address seeks to show that his agenda is business-friendly.

“Companies like UPS, FedEx, AT&T, Verizon, and PepsiCo – firms with some of the largest fleets in the country – are switching to more efficient vehicles. And through our Clean Fleets Partnership, driven not by government, but by business, more companies are going to be switching to electric and alternative vehicles, too – not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because it’s good for their bottom lines,” he said.