Sen. Barbara Mikulski from Maryland  was expected to unveil a proposal on Nov. 12 that would provide a tax break on car purchases until the end of next year. It’s the latest prescription from Washington on how to revive the U.S. auto industry, according to Martin Zimmerman’s Up to Speed blog on the Los Angeles Times Web site at

The National Automobile Dealers Association says a typical family would save about $1,500 on a $25,000 minivan with the proposal, which would provide a federal income-tax deduction for interest payments on car loans and sales and excise taxes on new-car sales. The dealers association says about 700 dealerships will close this year as car sales fall to a 25-year low and says the incentives are necessary to get folks into showrooms and, by extension, help boost the sagging U.S. economy.

Automakers support the proposal. Wade Newton, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said automakers now face low consumer confidence and consumers struggling to get credit.

Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with in Santa Monica, notes that automakers are already offering huge incentives in an effort to boost sales. But that is having little effect.

“Making that big commitment to buy a car when they don’t know what their job situation is going to be four months from now is what’s really scaring people,” Caldwell added.