Election year politics are never pretty, but it looks as though President Obama may be prepared to offer Congressional politicians an olive branch of sorts. In addition to asking for the up-to $7,500 EV tax credit to become a $10,000 cash rebate at point of purchase, Obama wants to extend the same deal to CNG, petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles too.
Big Oil companies are among the largest domestic producers of CNG, and Republicans are big fans of fracking and domestic energy production. The $7,500 EV tax credit, enacted in late 2008 by then-President George W. Bush (who lives on an off-the-grid ranch in Texas) had only applied to battery-electric vehicles. By extending the credit to CNG vehicles like the Honda Civic GX and the recently-announced CNG pickups from GM and Chrysler, Obama could boast that he is supporting domestic energy production and sticking to his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
After complaining long and hard about Obama’s failure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans would have a hard time justifying a tax credit that would give CNG producers a major boost in demand. Natural gas prices having been sagging due to an unusually-warm winter, and there is hope that if more American vehicles were to run on CNG, it could prop-up prices.
More than that though, extremely-efficient petrol engines that are 25% more-efficient than the proposed fuel economy standards set by the White House (34.5 mpg by 2016) could also apply for the up-to $10,000 rebate, should it pass. That would mean hybrids, diesels, and any petrol car that got better than 43 mpg by 2016 could be eligible for this tax credit.
For us alt-fuel fans, it makes the tax credit a little less palatable. However, Obama is also proposing a community program that would let 10-to-15 different communities experiment with different alt-fuel technologies. The money would help install infrastructure, purchase the vehicles, and educate the public. If this plan gets through Congress, expect this cities to be strategically located in either in swing-state strongholds like Ohio, Michigan, and even Arizona. And if you ask me, politics used to be about compromise and looking for common ground. I can stomach supporting petrol engines if I can have my pick of other alt-fuel technology.
I for one support this plan. My girlfriend has made it clear that, if this tax credit goes through, she intends to go car shopping. And she’d have quite a few choices from among the many manufacturers offering hybrid, electric, CNG, and other alt-fuel vehicles. Would this tax credit spur you to buy an alt-fuel or super-efficient car?
Source: The Detroit News