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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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Common Sense Automobile Efficiency Act of 2005

Apr 20, 2005
Hearing

Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing legislation that provides credit for the purchase of new qualified fuel cell, hybrid, or other alternative fuel motor vehicle.

The Common Sense Automobile Efficiency Act of 2005 encourages consumers to purchase environmentally friendly vehicles that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously reducing our country's oil dependence. It repeals the phase-out of the Qualified Electric Vehicles Credit and Deduction for Clean fuel-Vehicles so that 100% of the credit can be claimed through 2009. Consumers would receive a tax credit of up to $1,000 for hybrid gas-electric powered vehicles and $4,000--for fuel-cell vehicles.

Making our environment cleaner and reducing our dependence on foreign oil requires the participation of all stakeholders, including both consumers and manufacturers.

Cars, SUVs and other light trucks consume millions of barrels of oil every day and emit harmful amounts of carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas. Passenger vehicles alone account for one-fifth of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. With significant fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions, alternative-fuel and advanced-technology vehicles help to reduce the environmental impact of driving an automobile. Getting more miles out of a gallon of gas means lessening our dangerous reliance on oil, lowering levels of key air pollutants, and saving consumers money at the gas pumps.

All Americans need a choice in buying cars that can increase their fuel-efficiency. While the average fuel economy of vehicles on the road is at a twenty-one year low, gasoline prices continue to strain business and family budgets. Americans now spend more than $500 million per day to fuel their cars and light trucks. Families deserve a more affordable way to get to work, school, vacation, home or any destination on the road. Businesses that rely on vehicles to function need the cost-efficiency of driving hybrid vehicles.

Although major automakers currently offer advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles and plan to produce a full range of fuel-efficient options, including SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks, the cleanest vehicles available to the public should be more economical.

The tax incentives provided by this bill would not only save consumers money--but spur market demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. As people around the country embrace cleaner, more efficient cars, American automobile manufacturers must continue to improve fuel efficiency in order not to lose market share and jobs. This bill would help automakers invest in the production of alternative fuel motor vehicles--and accelerate the introduction of newer models into the marketplace.

The Common Sense Automobile Efficiency Act of 2005 provides a win-win situation for consumers, the economy, and the environment. It offers valuable incentives for the purchase and production of alternative vehicles and fuels--and enables consumers to help limit fuel consumption, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and protect our air quality.

Reference: H.R. 1744

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