Michigan Congressman Sander Levin is calling on the House of Representatives to pass a bill he sponsored that will double tax credits for those purchasing heavy-duty vehicles with hybrid powertrains.
According to Levin, the bill which is in the Houses Ways and Means Committee, must be voted on and passed this year. As Levin states, passing the bill will help offset the higher costs of producing and purchasing hybrid vehicles.
One of Levin's main supporters is Eaton Corp, manufacturer of many things including hybrid powertrains for heavy-duty vehicles. Dimitri Kazarinoff, vice president of hybrid power systems for Eaton said, "The current credits, which expire this year, have helped sales but the impact has been somewhat muted because of the high cost of hybrid heavy-duty vehicle."
The bill proposed by Levin would cover between 20 and 50% of the additional costs of a hybrid powertrain and the legislation would continue through 2014.
Under current legislation, heavy-duty hybrids receive a small $1,500 incentive, while Levin proposes doubling that to $3,000. According to Eaton, Levin's proposed credits would result in 5 times as many heavy-duty hybrid sales by 2014.
Currently, only 2,000 such hybrids are sold each year, but Eaton says the number would reach 10,000 by 2014 under the new bill.
The benefits of replacing diesel guzzling heavy-duty vehicles with hybrids are significant. According to Levin, "Simply putting as few as 10,000 hybrid-electric trucks on the road would reduce diesel fuel use by 7.2 million gallons per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 83,000 tons."
Levin is currently working on getting additional co-sponsors for the bill in hopes that with enough support, it will pass both the House and the Senate before the end of the year.
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