Clinton Pushes for Higher Gas Mileage and Plug-in Hybrids

Nov. 7, 2007: Source – Detroit Free Press

Hillary Clinton

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton put forth her $150 billion plan to address energy and climate issues yesterday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The proposal has its underpinnings in renewable fuel, and focuses on the efficiency and emissions of automobiles. Among other things, Clinton is calling for an improvement in the fleet-wide fuel economy standard to the tune of 55 miles per gallon by the year 2030. The current standard of 25 miles per gallon would be incrementally pushed up to 40 miles per gallon in 2020, before reaching its ultimate goal. Other candidates have proposed similarly ambitious goals but none as aggressive as Clinton’s plan.

Though questions of plausibility linger, Clinton has outlined several specific measures to achieve the high benchmarks, including the issuing of $20 billion of “Green Vehicle Bonds” for U.S. automakers to use in retooling their plants with technology that would output more efficient vehicles. Clinton would also grant a $10,000 consumer tax credit as a purchase incentive for plug-in hybrids. She would also allocate $2 billion for investment in battery research and add 100,000 plug-in hybrids to the federal fleet by 2015.

With regard to fuel, Clinton proposes an increase in the production of renewables, including the availability of 60 billion gallons of “home grown” biofuels by 2030. Her long-term goals by 2050 are to reduce greenhouse gas levels to 80 percent below what they were in 1990. "This is the biggest challenge we’ve faced in a generation." she said. "It’s time for America to meet it."

Clinton’s targets are far higher than the highest levels Detroit automakers have said they would accept—roughly 32 to 35 mpg by 2022.


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  • PWL

    Hillary and some others have obviously been reading what Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, talks about when he speaks of having “BHAG’s,” or “Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals.” Good leadership, including our automakers, in particular, involves thinking 30 years ahead, but good leaders also need to quit playing games with the pertoleum industry and put cars on the roads what are already available today. After all, if you can rent and drive a diesel Ford Focus all over Italy identical to the ones sold on any Ford lot in this country that will only burn refined, unleaded, gasoline, or high test, and get between 35-40 miles a gallon, what’s wrong with this picture?

  • Jim Hull

    While I agree with the push to increase ful milage, I disagree with the pug-in hybbdids. Not all apartment complexes are able to supply outlets and yes you could run a electrical chord to you car. But who is to say that some kid won’t come along and un plug your car.

  • CK

    Jim, I don’t get it. Just because some people live in apartments nobody should be allowed to have plug in hybrids as an option when purchasing a new vehicle? That’s silly, it’s like saying since many old people no longer have their teeth, nobody should be allowed to have their teeth cared for at the dentist office.

  • JohnM

    Mandating fleet mileage is downright socialist and totally backwards. Increasing gas/diesel fuel tax is how to convince people to take the higher mileage option.

  • Not Born Yesterday

    2030 is too late! The US is phasing out incandescent light bulbs next year. 2010 is a more realistic goal for hybrids and higher mileage. The car manufacturers have known for some time how to do this. They have the technology!

    This has to be between the vehicle manufacturers and the government; not the consumer.

    There should be larger tax incentives for manufacturing and purchasing a hybrid car. Do you want to pay $7 per gallon like the UK?

    George Washington said it best, “Beware of foreign entanglements.”

    Let’s stop rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and DO something before these very wealthy oil cartels own us!

  • Ronald

    I think overall its a good plan. I will be more than happy if such a plan was to exist.

    Is she proposing carbon trade or carbon tax to reduce emissions?

    Im down for carbon tax.

  • Indigo

    Of course, Hillary Clinton is first and foremost a politician. That means she’ll say whatever trendy thing she needs to say in order to get votes. Once she’s elected, she’ll just serve her own interests (just like every other president we’ve had lately).

  • Old Man Crowder

    I agree with Indigo. Vehicles and fuel efficiency are hot topics and cool buzzwords these days. Yes, something needs to be done, but why not focus efforts and money on energy efficiency in our homes and power plants. Transportation is only a fraction of total GHG emissions.

    But I suppose I should be posting that comment on the Green Buildings forum, rather than a hybrid vehicles site!

  • Gerald Shields

    I’m hoping I could quick charge the batteries like the system that Altair Nanotechnologies has. 😉

  • Tony

    This is all nothing new. In 2000, Bush and Gore sparred over competing, but very nearly identical, energy proposals. It eventually got to the point where they were arguing about who had some of the ideas first rather than whose ideas were better. It was annoying and frustrating, but at least gave hope that whoever won something would eventually happen because both sides seemed to want the same thing.

    As we all know, Bush won, and one of his first acts was to put together a comprehensive energy policy that consisted almost entirely of proposals that Gore had at one time claimed as his own. Lest anyone forget what happened next, said energy policy languished in congress (due in large part to opposition from democratic lawmakers) for over four years before a watered down version was finally enacted in 2005.

    Now here comes Hillary Clinton, proposing some of the exact same things that she personally voted against allowing Bush to do for the past six years. Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical.

  • Ken

    Car companies are dragging their feet, lame uninventive bunch that they are.

    I would make the goal by 2015 at the latest.

  • thierry from belgium

    I wish that the politicians in Europe have the same vision as Hilary.Do not forget that in the US as in Europe 70% of the people uses daily their car under 60 mile range.

    At my home i have Solar panels for electricity,
    The sooner the Plug in Cars arrive on the market ; the better

    grtz from Belgium