Image: Bill Richardson
Marcio Jose Sanchez  /  AP
Democratic presidential hopeful, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, addresses workers during a visit to Google headquarters Monday in Mountain View, Calif.
updated 5/17/2007 1:54:37 PM ET 2007-05-17T17:54:37

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson on Thursday laid out his plan for a dramatic shift in the way the U.S. uses energy, proposing to all but end the country’s reliance on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2040.

Invoking President Kennedy’s call for the Apollo space program, he said the nation needs a “man-on-the-moon” effort to develop technologies that will cut energy costs and halt global warming.

“I am issuing a call to action, for Congress, the energy industry and the public,” he said in a speech to the New America Foundation. “I am calling for a new American revolution — an energy and climate revolution.”

Richardson’s plan encourages people to drive electric and plug-in cars, promotes public transportation and calls for increasing fuel economy standards to 50 miles a gallon by 2020 from about 25 miles per gallon now.

He also wants to fund programs to develop wind, solar and biomass energy, and create a market-based system requiring utilities to emit less pollution.

Richardson has promoted his energy plan this week in campaign stops in California and elsewhere.

He says his experience as energy secretary under President Clinton and as the current governor of New Mexico give him a leg up on other candidates, who also have rolled out energy plans.

The Democratic front-runner, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, also has called for an “Apollo program” on energy. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama recently lectured automakers for investing in bigger, faster cars while dependency on oil is jeopardizing U.S. security and the global environment. And Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd wants to double the average fuel economy for each automaker to 50 mpg by 2017.

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