August 13, 2005

We Need A New Energy Policy

This makes no sense. The tax credit received by a purchaser of a Hummer H2 far exceeds the tax credit received by purchasers of Hybrid cars.

Craig Fruchter says what counts more is the government's tax credit of up to $100,000 for vehicles weighing over 6000 lbs. "I looked at the vehicles at the time and there was about four or five that fit the bill. There was the Range Rover at $75,000 and the Mercedes at $75,000 and so at a base sticker of around $50,000 and being able to write it off mostly and use it for work I thought it (the Hummer) was a good deal."

The Hybrid tax credit isn't quite as lucrative, totaling $1,500 for this year and declining 25% a year until it's phased out. At the moment three Hybrids dominate the marketplace but still account for less than 1% of nearly 17 million vehicles sold in the US.

Auto makers are planning to roll out more than a dozen Hybrids in the next year while the first Hybrid SUV, built by Ford, started a promotional tour through the country last week. Meanwhile industry experts say a massive switch to smaller cars or Hybrids will only happen if petrol supply is disrupted or prices hit $5-a-gallon.

This is truly backwards. Yet, it provides a revealing glimpse at the futility of our current energy policy, which provides nothing more than half-hearted gestures to achieve energy independence.

The Bush administration and Congress need to be doing more to break our dependency on oil - foreign or domestic (we simply do not have sufficient oil reserves in the U.S. to avoid dependency on foreign sources). Why doesn't the government mandate higher milage standards? Why don't they phase them in quicker than 5-7 years? Why doesn't the government provide more tax incentives to increase the development and production of hybrid vehicles? Why doesn't the government provide more tax incentives or funding for reasearch into alternative fuels? What can be done to speed up the development of hydrogen fuel cell automobiles?
It is very difficult to believe that the United States, the most technologically advanced country in the entire world, still relies on a technology (gas powered internal combustion engines) created in the early 1900's for transportation.
Most Americans want a solution to the ever rising price of gas. Most Americans have no desire to be inadvertently funding the dictatorships in the Middle East. So, why don't our politicians do something? Evidently, the petroleum industry lobbyists are more influential to politicians than their own constitutents. Listen up Washington: We need a solution and we need it now.
Here is a warning to all politicians: If you cannot get serious about this problem, then we, the voters, will find other leaders who can.
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