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Obama continues to press for more fuel-efficient vehicles with new budget proposal

Despite the fact that consumers are not adopting electric vehicles and hybrids in force, the Obama administration continues to push ahead encouraging new vehicle research and broader availability for electric vehicles and hybrids. The federal government has handed out loans to help spur research and development to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles and other green technologies to market, and those loans have backfired on several occasions.

While Tesla Motors by all accounts seems to be thriving, producing upwards of 500 cars/week, some of its competitors haven’t been so lucky. Fisker was one of the recipients of a large government-backed loan and the company is expected to file bankruptcy soon.
 
President Obama has sent his 2014 budget proposal to Congress this week and while many programs and services are seeing their budgets cut, Obama is calling for a massive boost in money available for vehicle research. President Obama wants to increase the Energy Departments vehicle research budget by 75% to $575 million.


Tesla Model S assembly line [Image Source: Tesla Motors via Flickr]

Obama also wants to create a $2 billion trust fund to research ways to wean the country off foreign oil over the next 10 years.

"We'll continue our march toward energy independence," said Obama.

Obama is also calling for provisions in his budget to help jumpstart sagging electric vehicle sales. The president wants to increase the tax credit for electric vehicle purchases from $7,500 today to $10,000. With the current tax credit, the electric vehicle buyer takes the tax incentive as a discount on their yearly taxes. Obama's new plan would allow consumers to take the discount at the point of sale as a rebate.

The budget also wants to accelerate research and development for emerging battery technologies and new manufacturing processes to allow the automotive industry to produce cheaper electric vehicles with better range and faster charging capability.

Source: Detroit News



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strange
By ERROR666 on 4/11/2013 11:40:48 AM , Rating: 5
Obama seems to be focused on cars. Which is a little strange. I too like cars, but I'm not a president. I would think that the president can find something more important to deal with than new cars.




RE: strange
By BRB29 on 4/11/2013 11:53:29 AM , Rating: 4
He is focused on alternative energy, not cars. It just so happens that everyone owns cars in this country and it's one of the main contributor to pollution and oil dependency. Our economy is very dependent on oil right now and it's a dangerous situation if OPEC or Canada decides to jack up their prices because they foresee supply shortage.

this will solve 2 problems:
1. pollution
2. oil dependency
I see this as a good thing as i can still drive a car 30 years from now regardless of what fuel it uses.


RE: strange
By Spuke on 4/11/2013 12:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Our economy is very dependent on oil right now and it's a dangerous situation if OPEC or Canada decides to jack up their prices because they foresee supply shortage.
Then nearly EVERYONE is in a dangerous position as nearly all countries import oil. We're on our way to becoming a net exporter. If there's supply issues from somewhere else, we could easily make up for it by using more of our own and since it's commodity, that's exactly what will happen. That might not keep prices from rising but as long as oil is a commodity, it doesn't matter where it comes from, the market will dictate prices.


RE: strange
By BRB29 on 4/11/13, Rating: 0
RE: strange
By Spuke on 4/11/2013 1:24:15 PM , Rating: 4
So we're the only one's that import oil then? THAT'S just wrong. About being ON OUR WAY to being a net exporter. Google is your friend. Old news.


RE: strange
By Mint on 4/12/2013 8:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
Those are some highly optimistic projections, and they are also assuming that the economy never recovers and that fuel efficiency keeps going up through vehicle electrification.


RE: strange
By Ringold on 4/11/2013 3:31:19 PM , Rating: 4
People thought that about natural gas, too.

And then, technology and oilmen savvy enough to skirt traditional restrictions came along, and...

People also said Israel was wasting its time searching for the same off its shores. It looked like it was, too, for years.

Then, suddenly, woops! There's the largest known untapped natural gas field on the planet.

You guys have been wrong on virtually everything since the 60s.


RE: strange
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2013 6:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the real point. Obama doesn't care about the environment or the car industry. His main goal is, obviously, to continue his Progressive ultra-Liberal agenda.

Bigger Government, more regulations and taxes, less freedoms. They all go hand in hand.

Also never forget Progressives hate cheap energy. Look at the fuel cost skyrocket under his Presidency, it's no coincidence. Liberals secretly hate the idea of people driving around cheaply and freely for some reason. In cars of their own choosing, no matter how politically incorrect they may be. We should all use mass transit or carpool, and if that can't happen, then they'll simply do what they can to price automobiles beyond the reach of the average person.

So Obama wants to establish a fun for this. Well that's quaint. But because of him, there is no real money to fund this "fund" with. It's all debt and printed money.

But you people apparently don't think we have bigger problems than to continue spending our money to fund the Green lobby. Which is all this really does in reality.


RE: strange
By Mathos on 4/11/2013 8:23:54 PM , Rating: 4
.....Having hard time deciding if this is Sarcasm or you really think like this......

You realize that Progressives were Republican right? Theodore Roosevelt being the most famous of them, other famous examples would be Abraham Lincoln. And for the love of god, before you go calling people liberal, at least learn the real definition of the word, and the real meaning of the liberal movement. Not the horsecrap that most uneducated people want to think they are. 90% of the founding fathers of this nation were part of the liberalism movement.

Let me reword this for you. The Wealthy hate cheap energy. Thomas Edison's view on electricity, was that it could be generated cheaply. He wanted to produce it so cheaply, that only the rich would still think it stylish to use oil for lighting. Why? Because the oil refinery supply at the time was controlled by 1 man, Rockefeller. We have expensive oil, because the wealthy, lobby for other alternatives to be restricted. Hemp for example, being made illegal, when the entire plant can be used to make multiple fuels. The Stalks can be fermented for ethanol, the seeds pressed for hemp oil then refined to bio diesel, etc. The seeds are cheap, it's a hardy plant that is naturally insect and disease resistant, and can be grown in MUCH higher crop density than corn.

Oil prices aren't dictated by supply and demand, outside of gas price at the pump. They're dictated by commodities futures trading, which of course, is done by the wealthy.

Call me a liberal, I'll be proud of it.


RE: strange
By MadMan007 on 4/12/2013 1:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's Reclaimer - he really thinks that, or at least it would seem that way based on years of posting history. I guess he could have been trolling that whole time.


RE: strange
By FITCamaro on 4/12/2013 7:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
Anytime I see anyone go straight to hemp in an argument, I immediately ignore them.


RE: strange
By Mint on 4/12/2013 9:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
Oil prices aren't dictated by commodities trading, either. They just create variability. For every trader that made money on the upswing 6 years ago, an equal number lost it on the downswing.

No, oil prices are determined by OPEC. Oil is has very low price elasticity of demand, and it controls about 50% of world production output. It doesn't take much output cutting via quotas to control prices. The only thing stopping them from jacking prices even further up is the threat of alternative technologies.

That's what tools like Reclaimer don't understand. North American production won't affect prices at all until it more than doubles in output and forbids exports, isolating itself from foreign demand like we do with natural gas.


RE: strange
By ven1ger on 4/11/2013 9:15:34 PM , Rating: 1
I'm thinking you may be crazy.

So what President, since the 1970's the price of fuel hasn't gone up? Even under Republican presidents the cost of fuel have gone up. I remember Romney blaming the President for the cost of gas, but when the prices dropped after summer there wasn't a peep.

Under a Republican President Bush, we got the Patriotic Act curbing our freedoms more, less regulation which caused the housing meltdown and the bailout of the Banks, highest unemployment, 2 wars, crippling debt, bigger government. Yes, they all go hand in hand. Seems the Republicans are more to blame than liberals or progressives for the current state of affairs. Bush had 8 years to take this country down to where we are finally pulling ourselves out of the quicksand that he left us in.

Under Obama, we have an economy on the mend, unemployment dropping (actual job gains, unlike Bushes 8 years where more jobs were lost than gained), an illegal war ended, and at least an end in sight of the Afghanistan war, Osama Bin Laden killed, somehow Bush failed to do that.

I used to have some respect for you Reclaimer77 but, your constant diatribe against Obama, Liberals/Progressives in these comments leads me to believe you may be a little touched in the head.


RE: strange
By StormyKnight on 4/12/2013 2:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
less regulation which caused the housing meltdown and the bailout of the Banks

The Republicans were the ones wanting more regulation on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac because they saw the writing on the wall. The Democrats were the ones that were forcing the banks to give out loans to people they knew couldn't possibly pay back. Anytime the Republicans tried to regulate the banks to stop this practice, Barney Frank (LIBERAL) and his ilk stopped it cold and let the practice continue. And look what happened. The people that got those loans couldn't afford to make the payments, defaulted on those loans, filed for bankruptcy or just walked away. This is what caused the housing bubble to burst which froze credit, made it nearly impossible for GM and Chrysler to secure loans which caused them to go into bankruptcy. These actions make you proud to be a liberal?

quote:
Under Obama, we have an economy on the mend,

Debatable. It is stagnant. A paltry 2.3% growth is not mending. When Reagan inherited Carter's mess, his plans caused triple the growth than what his happening under Obama.

quote:
unemployment dropping

More likely due to the fact that people have stopped looking for work, so the numbers are fudged making it look like, hey, less people are looking for work, so that means we have gains in employment. Kinda goes hand in hand with Obama putting more people on assistance than ever before.


RE: strange
By maugrimtr on 4/12/2013 8:51:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Debatable. It is stagnant. A paltry 2.3% growth is not mending. When Reagan inherited Carter's mess, his plans caused triple the growth than what his happening under Obama.


A "paltry" 2.3% growth is considered pretty amazing unless you're an emerging market... The EU is flatlining with some member states in technical recession. The EU went a bit too nuts on austerity which has led to a pretty dramatic increase in unemployment (and given their social welfare practices, have been effectively wrecking their economies by swapping tax income for social expenses). I know my fellow Irish compatriots would kill for your paltry growth...

quote:
More likely due to the fact that people have stopped looking for work, so the numbers are fudged making it look like, hey, less people are looking for work, so that means we have gains in employment. Kinda goes hand in hand with Obama putting more people on assistance than ever before.


Don't more people naturally end up requiring social assistance as unemployment arises under a Republican president? ;) You can twist that all day to mean anything...


RE: strange
By NoMas on 4/12/2013 4:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
Do you have any links to back up your assertions?

Here's a couple of links which sort of refute what you're claiming:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_United_...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_housing...

Quote from one of the links: "In 1996, HUD directed Freddie and Fannie to provide at least 42% of their mortgage financing to borrowers with income below the median in their area. This target was increased to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005. Under the Bush Administration HUD continued to pressure Fannie and Freddie to increase affordable housing purchases – to as high as 56 percent by the year 2008."

Seems the Bush administration was pushing for these loans, isn't that a Republican president by the way? Though if you read the links, they do mention that the Housing bubble wasn't the prime reason, seems the sub-prime loans that Wallstreet was dealing out were the primary reason, and I believe it was the Republicans that removed many of the regulations, but there is fault all around. Does this make you proud to be a Republican.

Now if you going to say that their is a conspiracy around Wikipedia providing this information, I'd like to point out that there are footnotes, included to backup these assertions. We know how some nutcases like to spin conspiracy theories.

I've heard many of the arguments that you're laying while watching the Presidental debate but instead of listening to the talking points of the candidates maybe look beyond that.

You do know Reagan raised taxes 11 times, right? He also grew the national debt from less than 1 trillion to greater than 2 trillion. Yes, he cut taxes during his first term but after that had to raise taxes 11 times to make up the shortfall that caused and borrow money to offset his shortfall. Let's not forget that his last year in office was rocked with the Iran-Contra affair which ended up with several of his staff in jail. Personally, I liked Reagan.

As to the unemployment numbers, if you have facts to back up what you're talking about please present them. This is the labor board that is presenting the numbers. Every president has used them since they started collecting them, but then just because a president you may not approve of is using the same agency, you claim there must be something funny about the numbers. Please, do you have any proof to backup your allegations? Even State unemployment numbers have improved significantly, some maybe not so much.


RE: strange
By Mint on 4/12/2013 10:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The people that got those loans couldn't afford to make the payments, defaulted on those loans, filed for bankruptcy or just walked away.
Doesn't matter. A bank is supposed to secure all its loans with adequate backing. For a house, that means a down payment to cover possible depreciation. When someone defaults on their mortgage, they only get to keep what's left after the auction pays the bank enough for the principle plus default fees. Losses would then effectively come out of the down payment.

Instead, they greedily pursued high interest, low (even zero) down payment loans, i.e. the sub-prime market. That's the free market at work, where the banks used past data to model risk and depreciation, and competed with each other for this seemingly profitable market.
quote:
When Reagan inherited Carter's mess, his plans caused triple the growth than what his happening under Obama.
Reagan's policies exploded private debt and used it as a crutch for growth. When you give tax cuts to the rich, they save a lot more, and banks then lend a lot more. It worked for decades, until the Bush tax cuts had private debt growing at the rate of over 25% of GDP per year. Private debt is $40T now, absolutely dwarfing gov't debt.

That method can't work now, as the crutch is broken. The rich are saving more than the banks can safely lend out, despite zero interest discouraging them from doing so. We ran head first into the limits of what we can get from private debt creation. That well is dry.

NOTHING will cure the economy without more demand. Not tax cuts, not debt repayment, not regulation removal, nothing. People with high income need to spend more voluntarily (fat chance of that happening) or be taxed so the spenders (either the gov't or the middle/lower classes) will do it for them. Without more demand, businesses have no reason for net hiring, investors have few new production needs to invest in, and unemployment only gets worse.


RE: strange
By Reclaimer77 on 4/13/2013 6:22:49 PM , Rating: 1
Man every time you post, on any issue, it's just such bullshit. But this really takes the cake.

quote:
It worked for decades, until the Bush tax cuts had private debt growing at the rate of over 25% of GDP per year


So cutting taxes, letting people keep MORE of their income, increased private debt. Riiiight, makes complete sense!

quote:
Doesn't matter. A bank is supposed to secure all its loans with adequate backing.


And they used to. Except some Democrats decided that was "unfair" to minorities. It excluded them from home-ownership. Hence the sub-prime mortgage was created and the banks were bullied into submission to offer them.

quote:
Reagan's policies exploded private debt and used it as a crutch for growth.


Bull. Prove it. I want links from non-Liberal sources that make sense out of this assertion. Because it's not backed by any rational unbiased analysis. Debt was already exploding from Carters insane inflation and unemployment, idiot!

quote:
NOTHING will cure the economy without more demand. Not tax cuts, not debt repayment, not regulation removal, nothing. People with high income need to spend more voluntarily (fat chance of that happening) or be taxed so the spenders (either the gov't or the middle/lower classes) will do it for them. Without more demand, businesses have no reason for net hiring, investors have few new production needs to invest in, and unemployment only gets worse.


Correct.

Where you fail is to recognize WHY "demand" is low and has remained so under Obama.

1. Massive banking regulations leading to the banks basically afraid to take any risks, especially with loans.

2. A President who's lost more jobs than he's created, threatens to raise taxes, and is spending us into bankruptcy.

3. Obamacare and other regulations causing MASSIVE economic uncertainty. This has caused a hiring slump and other issues. Nobody knows which way the country will turn or what is coming next or what the thousands of pages of regulations from Obamacare actually means to their bottom line.

You're correct that the "rich" and corporations are holding onto their money, taking less risks, and waiting this mess out. But you fail to realize the policies you're supporting are CAUSING this to happen!

quote:
People with high income need to spend more voluntarily (fat chance of that happening)


Funny but they seem to spend plenty, hire more, and take more risks when the times are good and a Keynesian isn't running wild in the White House.

Instead of recognizing the why, you instead choose to scorn the "rich" for not going along with Obama's horrible economic vision to their own detriment. Would you!??


RE: strange
By Paj on 4/12/2013 8:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
Haha, man, you Americans love a good conspiracy.
Serious question - why is that?


RE: strange
By Ammohunt on 4/11/2013 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah like electric Air Liners! and electric Semi Trucks! (Lorries for you Queens English folks) Viva La baterías!


RE: strange
By BRB29 on 4/11/2013 12:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
trucks and buses can easily run on electricity. It's already been done. Most metros run on electricity. There's plenty of hybrid buses around now. Trucks will get the hybrid treatment soon enough. Planes can still use fuel as it is very fuel efficient for the passengers it carries.

When battery technology advances enough, you will see buses and trucks going full EV. For right now, only hybrid is possible for the range needed.

Trains are also being looked into as the new future of travel. Warren Buffet didn't spend billions for nothing. We can make 300+ mph trains now. I prefer taking trains going from DC to NYC. Overall, the same amount of time and much more space. Hardly any wait also.


RE: strange
By Ammohunt on 4/11/2013 12:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I like trains too but to run them at a net loss like most of Europe does is a non starter. Coupled with the lack of willingness of private industry(the only way to make it profitable) to invest the kind of capital it would take to build a viable commuter train infrastructure in this country.


RE: strange
By Manch on 4/12/2013 7:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
Commuter trains are a no go, but freight trains have been on the rise. Private companies are reviving some of the smaller lines bc it's cheaper than trucking in some cases. NC has a couple lines that have been revived.


RE: strange
By Paj on 4/12/2013 8:53:26 AM , Rating: 3
Trains are the way to go. Germany and France run their (majority state owned) train networks at a huge profit. The French operator is so successful that its providing trains and consulting across the entire world, including the USA.

In Britain, where the trains are privatised, service is rated the worst and prices are the most expensive in all of Europe.


RE: strange
By MadMan007 on 4/11/2013 1:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
There is some economic sense to it actually.

First, the automobile and transportation industries are a big part of the US economy with lots of knock-on effects as well beyond the car companies themselves.

Second, leadership in the technology behind a move away from fossil fuels, which will have to happen some time even if it's not in the next 25+ years, will be huge. This isn't directly comparable in the details of the industry, but as a comparison look at early government spending in semiconductors. That was mainly for the military and space programs in the 1960s and personal computing wasn't really a 'thing' until the 1980s (please no one get technical with the few examples prior to that, I'm talking about it being remotely mainstream) and then it was another 15+ years until the next huge shift with the internet, then another 15 years with mobile.


RE: strange
By TSS on 4/11/2013 4:46:22 PM , Rating: 1
Ah no, there's no sense to it.

What you're explaining is the guise these funds are allocated under, but it's not the real reason. The real reason is to boost the worth of companies his sponsors have invested in.

See, if it really was about alternative energy, Obama wouldn't be focussed so much on EV's to the point he's willing to just hand out $10,000 in cash (it hardly matters that the only provision is you have to spend it on the thing you recieve it for) for people to buy one. He would go for a shotgun approach, including algea biodiesel, hydrogen, fuel cells (both hydrogen and natural gas), solar, wind, nuclear (specifically thorium heavy breeder reactors), geothermal, hydrothermal, and cleaner garbage burners.

Note: Those are ways of actually GENERATING power. Nobody has said a single frickin word about where this power to drive these electrical vehicles come from, including obama. It's sure as hell not going to come from solar and wind. 60% of the US power generation comes from coal - THAT's where the power will come from. Dollars invested in more clean coal technology? zero.

Remember a car is made out of alot of parts. The big issue when GM was going bankrupt wasn't as much GM as the huge chain of suppliers GM has that'd also go out of business. Conversely, if a car is bought, all those suppliers get paid or worth more. I know GM lost alot of personell in the banrupcy but i heard little about it's suppliers, even though the car market is still a quarter smaller then it used to be. Smells fishy don't it?

Fisker was a government fueled ponzi scheme. First Obama's sponsors invest in it. Then the government offers a loan guarrantee, decreasing risk as well as providing positive PR. The company goes up in worth, and the initial investors rotate out of the company by selling to the next line of investors. With a healthy profit ofcourse.

Wether the second line or third or howfar the rabbit hole goes i don't know, what i do know is, as soon as the last of obama's cronies got out, the government pulled their loan and collapsed the ponzi scheme to cover their tracks. Genius.

Well. At the very least i got my question awnsered. A while ago there was a news post on here about fisker looking for $150 million more in investment capital and i posed the question wether they'd find $150 million worth of idiots to pay off the previous $140 million worth of idiots. Guess they didn't.


RE: strange
By MadMan007 on 4/11/2013 6:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it's a conspiracy, that makes much more sense.


RE: strange
By ven1ger on 4/11/2013 8:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
We all know politicians have to pay back there supporters. But, I'll take Obama and his cronies than Bush and his cronies.

You want to lay the cost of trying to subsidize energy efficiency at Obama's doorstep, fine, let's lay the cost of the Iraqi war at Bush's doorstep and the cronies that got hundreds of billions of taxpayer money, heard of Halliburton? And at least AFAIK, Obama's payments hasn't cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers, crippling debt because of a war that was illegal in the first place.

The amount lost because of failed ventures is virtually nothing compared to the lost lives and crippling debt that the Bush administration left us with.


RE: strange
By wookie1 on 4/11/2013 5:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
You can easily tell whether there is any economic sense in the strategy by finding out if anyone is willing to invest their money under their own free will. The answer is obviously no, since that is not happening and instead the taxpayers are forced to finance it at the point of a gun.


RE: strange
By MadMan007 on 4/11/2013 6:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Businesses need to show returns on something in the short-term, that is definitely a hindrance to risky long-term spending.


RE: strange
By wookie1 on 4/11/2013 10:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
Still not a good argument to compel people against their will to spend money on someone else's pet project. Also, plenty of investors put money into longer term projects. How about Virgin Galactic? Private space tourism! Don't tell me that they benefited so much from NASA, when NASA wouldn't allow private companies to participate until recently.


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