In the face of record-high gas prices, Bill Ford Jr. supports a combination of gas tax and new-vehicle purchasing incentives to spur greater fuel efficiency, he said Wednesday at the New York auto show. Reuters reported from the show that Ford has backed a gas tax of 50 cents for years, but would like to see tax breaks for consumers who buy cars with new fuel-saving technology.
Ford would also like to see subsidies for fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, such as the gas-electric hybrid Escape compact SUV. That vehicle traveled 576 miles around Manhattan on one tank of gas from Monday April 6 to Tuesday night. The test drive was designed to publicize the fuel economy and emissions benefits of hybrid electric vehicles.
Other industry officials such as GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz also support higher gas taxes and sales incentives, according to Reuters. Despite increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, the average fuel economy of vehicles on U.S. roads has declined over the past two decades with the growth of sport utility vehicle sales. The EPA is considering revising its methodology for fuel economy tests. The new numbers would likely result in lower gas mileage estimates on new cars, which may affect how NHTSA administers CAFE.
Transportation energy consumption is increasing by 1.8% per year, faster than any other major category of energy use, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.