California Congressman Proposes $1 Billion Prize For 100 MPG Car

The Automotive X-Prize was a $10 million contest with a simple premise at its heart; produce a road-worthy, 100 MPG car. Sounds easy, but the contest was no joke, and at the end hundreds of contestants had been whittled down to three winners, the Edison2, Li-Ion Motors, and the X-Tracer team. Alas, none of these 100+ mpg vehicles will come to market en masse.But perhaps the prize just wasn’t big enough? That seems to be the thinking behind a new bill sponsors by California Republican Congressmen Dan Lungren, who proposes offering a $1 BILLION reward for any automaker that can build and sell 60,000 100 MPG vehicles.

Modeled after DARPA’s own version of the X-Prize, called the “Grand Challenge,” which challenges teams to develop an autonomous vehicle, Lungren’s prize would challenge automakers to build a 100 MPG mid-size sedan…and then sell 60,000 of them.

There are a couple of caveats though; the car must run on gasoline. No hybrids or electric vehicles allowed. Furthermore, the companies must be Incorporated in the United States. I’m not sure, but that may disqualify a number of Japanese and European automakers.

Another problem with this prize is that while a $1 billion is a lot of money to you or me, that is about what it costs for an automaker to develop a new car anyways. And unless such a vehicle is a runaway hit, it could take several years to sell 60,000 100 mpg cars, depending on the cost (and I doubt it would be cheap.)

Lungren’s bill has little hope of getting through our divided Congress at a time when the economy and budget deficit are front page news. But an affordable, mass-produced 100 mpg car could stretch out out limited oil supplies for a long, long time. Getting there without hybrid or electric vehicle technology might ultimately prove impossible though, even if this bill ever got passed (which it won’t.)

Source: Fox News (I know, I know…)

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.