Obama: Add Rebates On Natural-Gas Cars, Oil Is 'Fuel Of Past'

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Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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Continuing his efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, President Barack Obama yesterday proposed expanding tax credits now offered to buyers of plug-in cars to those who buy natural-gas vehicles as well.

Given the ugly politics around electric cars and the presidential election season, the proposals aren't given much chance of getting enacted this year, if ever.

But Obama doubled down on his calls to end tax incentives for the petroleum industry, calling oil the "fuel of the past" and urging that U.S. transportation migrate over time to a mix of fuels.

His speech continued a consistent theme of the current administration: Gas prices hurt, but oil dependency is worse.

The president made his proposals at a Daimler truck plant in North Carolina--The New York Times noted that it was his fourth trip to the contested state in six months--and called for Congress to end $4 billion of tax incentives and subsidies to the oil industry to offset the cost.

"Promising" new energy sources

“It’s time to end that taxpayer giveaway," Obama said, calling the oil industry one that's "never been more profitable" and repeating his call for the country to invest in new sources of clean energy that have "never been more promising."

Specifically, Obama called for the existing maximum tax credit of $7,500 for purchase of an electric car to be raised to $10,000.

He proposed that the credit be converted to an effective purchase rebate, which buyers receive within weeks--rather than a tax credit whose effect is seen up to 15 months later--by letting buyers transfer the credit to dealers or financial entities when they purchase.


2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD bi-fuel (natural gas & gasoline) pickup truck

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD bi-fuel (natural gas & gasoline) pickup truck

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Plug-ins plus natural gas

He also suggested that credit be expanded to include not only plug-in cars, but those fueled by natural gas and hydrogen as well.

And Obama proposed a new tax incentive for commercial buyers of such vehicles, cutting their taxes over five years by half the increased cost of the alternative-fuel vehicle against a comparable gasoline or diesel vehicle.

Together, those proposals would total $3.7 billion in new incentives, according to the Detroit News.

Infrastructure for up to 15 cities

Finally, the president proposed a second Department of Energy "grand challenge" of $1 billion, to fund installation of alternative-fueling infrastructure in up to 15 cities, accompanied by $650 million in R&D funding to increase the range of electric, natural-gas, and hydrogen vehicles.

Roughly one-third of those cities would install infrastructure for fueling natural-gas vehicles, with the rest continuing to add public charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles.

Barack Obama in Detroit

Barack Obama in Detroit

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Addressing concerns over higher gas prices, Obama cited statistics that indicate domestic oil production has increased, more acres are being explored for drilling, and the number of permits issued for pipelines has risen during his time in office.

Beware proposals for $2 gas

The president continued on the path of what he called an "all of the above" energy strategy, but engaged in a bit of political positioning when he warned against politicians proposing "phony election-year promises" for reducing gasoline prices to $2 a gallon "that never come about."

The New York Times coverage noted that Obama did not mention his longstanding goal of having 1 million plug-in vehicles on the nation's roads by 2015.


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Comments (20)
  1. Well done Obama. It is nice to have a vision of a different future rather than continuing with the same-ol'-same-ol'.

  2. Spoken like a true Marx. I got an idea why don't they compete with out incentives and let the best win. It always works and everybody wins!!!

  3. How about we take incentives from big oil and then we could compete? As long as we subsidize oil and ethanol you can shove your tea bags up your @ss...

  4. He can propose whatever he wants - it's not like the freak show is going to pass anything that Obama wants.

  5. The freak show is our Marx's president and his followers!

  6. @Joe: I believe the word you've attempting to use, twice, is properly spelled "Marxist."

  7. Thanks, but what do you expect from an engineer!

  8. @Joe: HEY! No stereotyping, please. I'm an engineer too, ahem.

  9. Well, isn't that interesting? Since Obama wants to give credits for CNG, if the republicans get back in power you can kiss CNG, electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and extended range electric vehicles like the Volt good-bye. Anything Obama is for, the republicans are against. They will plunge us back into the fossil age and the gas prices will be around $11.00 a gallon. We cannot allow the Europeans to have a higher gas price than the U.S.. When the Mitt sits down in that chair, he is undoing everything Obama has done, he's already said that.

  10. Naah. Deep down, Mitt is more liberal than Obama. He has to say stupid crap to appease the new "engineers" of the "American Dark Age." Obviously, he will not come close to the White House (except during a tour maybe) but if he does, it's a non-even for everyone. Even if the true freaks came to power they wouldn't do anything either. We have presidents who are pretty much powerless and it's by design. I'd say Obama will get 107% of our vote and the country will move on.

  11. I think that's wishful thinking regarding Mitt's liberalism. His likely Supreme Court appointees alone should motivate all who want to avoid an "American Dark Age."

  12. I am a conservative Republican and spend much of my time promoting natural gas vehicles. People on this blog should try being fair to all, and quit stereotyping Republicans. It is counterproductive. This is not a political site.

  13. What a moron. You get natural gas by DRILLING, just like oil. The subsidy to the oil industry is NOT TO THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY! It is to small producers. The subsidy to Big Oil ended 35 years ago! Do you people ever go to the effort of gathering facts?!?

  14. Is this the same Obama that promised to transition our country away from dirty fuels such as Oil, NATURAL GAS, coal? Make no mistake - he has no interest in promoting GNG as an energy source. He is bent on channeling our tax dollars to his "green" buddies at the expense of proven domestic energy sources. He has cut funding for Hydroelectric power development, supports Nuclear in rhetoric alone and has done nothing to advance it. He has a full blown war against coal and gas. These sources truely have the potential to make us less dependent on Muslim oil.
    It's an election year and he is just like the rest of them. Re-election is is job one!

  15. Obama is actually supporting a transition to natural gas vehicles, and use of our natural gas resources. Check out the latest news on this. Of course time will tell if he sticks with it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/13/statements-president-s-executive-order-supporting-safe-and-responsible-d

  16. http://tinyurl.com/7mbmk62

  17. Drill baby drill just doesn't cut it any more. Even if all of the USA coastal waters and ANWR was opened up to oil exploration it would barely make a difference in the price of oil. I for one am looking forward to EV's becoming more mainstream. EV's are much more efficient than gasoline cars and we could all be driving luxurious EV's with great acceleration and recharging them with or solar panals attached to our garages or car ports rather than having to fight war to secure our so called oil rights. Lets use technology to reduce our dependance on oil

  18. Electric is fine for local driving, but the electricity will increasingly be coming for natural gas, which is clean. Large vehicles that, travel long distances, can save half of their fuel costs by using natural gas as CNG and LNG. Natural gas can eliminate coal and nuclear plants. It can also fuel ships, aircraft, and locomotives. See my natual gas page: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYFMQ/edit

  19. Sorry, can't get links to work.

  20. We disable all live links for the protection of readers. Our moderators review them and delete any comments with links that pose problems.

    The way to get them to work is to copy and paste the entire link into a browser window.

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