In the face of increasingly strident Republican attacks, Obama has heralded an increase in domestic oil production and stressed that rising gasoline prices at home are due largely to booming demand abroad and to volatility on world markets.
Obama's long-term fixes include raising fuel economy standards and providing incentives for Americans to make and buy products that run on alternative energy.
The president's proposals, which he discussed after touring the factory near Charlotte, would set aside $1 billion for a national "challenge" to encourage the use by communities of advanced vehicles.
He also wants to expand tax incentives for electric cars and alternative-fuel trucks to $10,000 from the current $7,500 and fund research into vehicle and battery technology. Much of the proposed policy was previewed in the president's 2013 budget and would require approval from a Congress mired in gridlock.