Carper to Daimler- Chrysler CEO: ‘There are Jobs, Economic Growth and Cleaner Energy Available in a Hybrid Line’

WASHINGTON, DC – Daimler-Chrysler could increase its sales and be hailed as an environmental leader by putting more hybrid-powered vehicles on the road, Senator Tom Carper urged Daimler-Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetche today. Carper and Zetche met just off the Senate floor to discuss the auto-maker’s future plans for the Dodge Durango and energy efficient hybrid automobiles. “Daimler-Chrysler is a vital part of our state’s current economy. Hybrid vehicles are, I believe, an important part of our economy’s future. Daimler-Chrysler must move more quickly down the road to more environmentally-friendly automobiles,” Carper said. “Introducing a hybrid Durango in 2003 is a good way to start, but more action must follow. This is a real chance to serve both the economy and the environment.” During the Senate’s August recess, Carper held a series of discussions on energy production and conservation throughout Delaware. Called “Conversations on America’s Energy Future,” the forums featured presentations from the operators of traditional energy producers like coal and natural gas power plants, examples of alternative energy sources like wind and solar power, the input of environmental activists, and a presentation of the some Delaware’s “Best Energy Practices,” including successful efforts at conservation and energy efficiency. “I heard from people who want to buy hybrid vehicles because they combine the comfort of everyday automobiles with tremendous fuel efficiency,” Carper said. “But when they go to a dealer to purchase one, all they see are Hondas and Toyotas. Chrysler is quickly losing the battle for green-friendly cars.” The Senator and the CEO also spoke about the possibility of introducing automobiles that could run on diesel fuels like soy biodiesel, which burns cleaner than traditional gasoline and is more fuel-efficient than ethanol. “Once it takes root, soy-biodiesel could be a tremendous growth opportunity for Delaware,” said Carper, who is a member of both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.