The legislation to channel federal funds to auto/auto parts makers is already in place. All we need now is appropriations to fund the mandates.
But given the recent defeat of a bill in Congress to repeal the tax break on oil companies, it looks like substantial federal funding won't come until at least November. If the Democrats capture the White House and a greater majority in Congress in the 08 elections, then maybe there's hope for HEVs in the US yet. Otherwise, US automakers are finished.
The presumed Republican nominee is proposing a $300 million government prize to whoever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology. The bounty would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country, "a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency," McCain said in remarks prepared for delivery Monday at Fresno State University in California.
McCain said such a device should deliver power at 30 percent of current costs and have "the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars." The Arizona senator is also proposing stiffer fines for automakers who skirt existing fuel-efficiency standards, as well as incentives to increase use of domestic and foreign alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol.
In addition, a so-called Clean Car Challenge would provide U.S. automakers with a $5,000 tax credit for every zero-carbon emissions car they develop and sell.
"In the quest for alternatives to oil, our government has thrown around enough money subsidizing special interests and excusing failure," said excerpts from McCain's prepared text. "From now on, we will encourage heroic efforts in engineering, and we will reward the greatest success."