Last month, President Bush proposed a $2.5 billion program of credits for buyers of new diesels and gasoline-electric hybrids. But the next day, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a subsidy bill that omits diesels. Instead, it focuses on hybrids, electric vehicles, alternative fuels and fuel cells, according to a May 11 report in Automotive News. Hatch is concerned that diesel is not clean enough. Environmentalists are fighting to keep diesels out of subsidy legislation. Diesel advocates call the new engines clean. Others don’t see a need to give tax credits to hybrid vehicles because they have a waiting list to buy them. The Bush administration favors tax credits of as much as $4,000 for gasoline-electric hybrids and as much as $8,000 for fuel cell-powered vehicles, once they become available. He did not propose a credit amount yet for diesels. The House of Representatives approved its latest version of comprehensive energy legislation on April 22. It includes tax credits of as much as $3,500 for buyers of new diesels, but it offers no direct breaks for buyers of hybrid or fuel cell vehicles. The Senate version of the energy bill is expected to include tax credits for a broader range of fuel-saving technologies.
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