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President Barack Obama is calling for incentives to develop more fuel-efficient cars, emphasizing a top energy initiative amid rising gasoline prices and a re-election battle.
The president visited western North Carolina on Wednesday to speak at a Daimler truck plant in Mount Holly.
North Carolina is expected to figure prominently in the 2012 presidential election.
Gasoline prices are at their highest levels for this time of year, and Obama has been traveling to promote energy proposals he says will reduce foreign oil dependency over the long term.
"As we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down," Obama said.
Obama is proposing a $1 billion incentive to challenge local communities to encourage greater fuel-efficient technologies, such as more charging stations for electric vehicles.
Obama also is touting greater tax incentives to encourage the purchase and use of more fuel-efficient vehicles.