Carper praises GM for hybrid vehicle announcement, Pledges to work to pass tax incentives for their purchase

“The federal government must support this move towards more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Washington, DC – Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) today congratulated General Motors for its announcement that beginning later this year it would begin selling gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Carper expressed hope that other companies will follow GM’s lead, and promised to help encourage the purchase of these vehicles through changes in federal energy and tax policy. Until now, only Toyota and Honda have sold hybrids in the U.S. “GM’s introduction of hybrid vehicles is very good news, and I applaud their willingness to offer vehicles that will help to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. I hope that Daimler Chrysler and Ford will soon follow suit,” Senator Carper said. “Producing fuel-efficient vehicles is just one part of the solution, however. American’s need to purchase them, and I will work to pass an energy bill with incentives that help move these vehicles from the showroom to the highway.” During Senate debate on a national energy policy last year, Senator Carper and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) offered an amendment to increase the fuel economy of the cars, trucks, and SUV’s. In August of 2002, he traveled to Detroit, MI to meet with leaders of GM and Daimler Chrysler to discuss options for fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids, advanced super-clean diesels, and eventually fuel cell powered vehicles. “Efforts to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil cannot succeed without first decreasing demand for oil in our cars and trucks. Measures such as hybrid engines provide one way to reduce the amount of oil we use,” Carper said. “Ultimately, hydrogen fuel-cell technology should replace traditional engines. However fuel-cells are still being developed and tested by companies such as DuPont and W.L. Gore. Hybrids offer a short-term solution while fuel-cells are perfected.” Vehicle manufacturers are also beginning to adopt advanced, super-clean diesel engine technology. Daimler Chrysler has announced plans to offer a diesel engine in its popular Jeep Liberty SUV beginning in 2005, which is expected to be up to 30 percent more fuel efficient. With cleaner fuels now available, including bio-diesel made from Delaware soybeans, increased use of diesel engines offers a tool to reduce fuel consumption, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and maintain clean-air standards. Delaware builds more vehicles per capita than any other state. General Motors builds the Saturn LS in Wilmington. Daimler Chrysler builds the Dodge Durango in Newark. Employees at both plants have earned a reputation for building high quality vehicles, which have helped both companies maintain their leadership in the increasingly competitive automobile marketplace. As State Treasurer, U.S. Congressman, Governor, and now Senator, Carper has fought to keep both plants producing vehicles in Delaware.