Senators Introduce ‘Efficient Vehicle Leadership Act of 2009’


Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced a new bill Wednesday as a follow-up to the short-lived-by-design Cash for Clunker program. The bill, called The Efficient Vehicle Leadership Act of 2009 (S. 1620), would, the Senators claim, spur auto sales for the long haul by rationalizing incentives to buy fuel efficient vehicles.

The Act would create a reward program for consumers who purchase vehicles (in 2010 or later) with gas mileage exceeding that of the average overall fuel economy required for that vehicle’s class (CAFE). These consumers would receive a performance rebate, which they could claim on their tax returns or at point-of-sale (instantly, from the dealer who sold them the vehicle). Depending on the extent to which the vehicle exceeds its CAFE, the rebate could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Other reported advantages of the program would be that it would be self-adjusting, complementary with CAFE, market driven, and technology neutral (reliant on a continuing efficiency incentive instead of on technology-specific tax credits).

Starting in the program’s third year (2013), it would require manufacturers to pay a fuel performance fee for fuel inefficient vehicles. This fee would apply to not apply to vehicles manufactured before 2013.

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.

2 responses

  1. This strikes me as about a decade late, but seriously, American consumers are so non-forward thinking in weighing the merits and costs of car purchases.
    Transparently and tangibly incentivizing good consumer behavior is a good way to fix the systemic problem and as a bonus, I like that it will become ~revenue neutral after inefficiency fees come into effect against manufacturers a few years later.

  2. This introduced bill will leave dilemmas for car users whether they will take the opportunity that the bill is promising. Car consumers will not easily embrace the bill. But with the proper orientation to them by the government, this bill could be very helpful for both parties.

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