How Did Your Vote Affect the Future of Driving?

By Rstaib Posted : 11/05/2008

Now that Election Day is over, and the next president has been decided, it's time to look ahead-"what plan does President-elect Obama have for hybrid cars and alternative fuel sources for vehicles?

Even before the election, there were some things that both candidates agreed on. The movement towards plug-in hybrid vehicles has been recognized at the highest levels of government, as recently as October 2008.

A Bi-Partisan Agreement
On October 2, 2008, as part of the $700 million bailout legislation passed by the US Senate, a tax credit was included for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Both presidential candidates signed this legislation.

Obama plans to convert the entire White House fleet of cars to plug-in hybrids.

This credit works out to be a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity over 4kWh, to a maximum of $7,500 for "light duty vehicles"-"the Chevrolet Volt's capacity is 16kWh, for example. The credit increases as the vehicle weight goes up. Many of the upcoming plug-in hybrids, such as the Volt and the similar vehicles announced by Chrysler and Nissan Motor Co. for 2010 and after should qualify for the tax credit. These tax credits have a "lifespan" based upon sales of qualifying vehicles.

This bill also extends existing tax credits for other alternative fuels and energy.

Obama's Plan
In 2007, Obama (along with other Senators) introduced a bill promoting the use and development of plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles. He has called for 1 million hybrid cars to be on the road by 2015.

Obama's plans include increasing the fuel economy of vehicles by 4 percent each year.

He also intends to convert the entire White House fleet of cars to plug-in hybrids, and half of cars purchased by the federal government by 2012.

He also plans to allow for $4 billion in tax credits for retooling efforts and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to allow them to concentrate on advanced technologies eventually allowing hybrid vehicles to achieve 150 miles per gallon.

In the short term, Obama hopes to give a flat $7000 tax credit for anyone purchasing a hybrid vehicle.

The Challenge for America
In the months ahead, President-elect Obama will begin preparing his cabinet and his priorities for 2009 and beyond. Energy issues were high profile while gas prices were sky-rocketing, but will this administration remain focused on this issue for the long-haul? Our challenge as a nation is hold our leaders accountable for their promises-"especially when it comes to our environment. We look forward to the inauguration-"and to matching reality to campaign promises.

Do you have any questions or comments? Please let us know.

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