President Obama announced a new $1 billion alternative vehicle program Wednesday, calling oil "the fuel of the past."
The goal of the "National Community Deployment Challenge" is to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as gas-powered cars by 2020.
Speaking at a truck plant in North Carolina Wednesday, Obama said it's time for the United States to move away from its dependence on oil and explore new energy possibilities.
"We've got to develop every source of American energy -- not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, and biofuels," Obama said.
The president called on Congress to provide grant money to encourage the use of fuel-efficient technologies.
"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," he said.
But some critics have questioned the wisdom of the program. Poor sales recently led General Motors to suspend production of its electric car, the Chevy Volt.