Outlining his energy priorities, he said the country would not be held "hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and a warming planet".
He called for greater fuel efficiency and an "energy economy" aimed at creating millions of jobs.
He also ordered a review of whether states can set car emission standards.
This challenges a Bush administration decision which favoured a national standard for vehicle pollution.
At his first White House news conference since becoming president, Mr Obama said he would reverse America’s dependence on foreign oil while creating jobs, but warned there was no "quick fix".