The White House is charging ahead with its ambitions for a transition to electric cars despite Friday’s announcement that GM is suspending production of the Chevy Volt for five weeks due to weak sales.
Today, Obama visited the Daimler Trucks North America Mt. Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mt. Holly, N.C., touring the assembly line and looking at alternative vehicles.
He announced new incentives including increasing the current tax credit for advanced vehicles from the $7,500 up to $10,000.
“But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much natural gas, or flex-fuel or electric vehicles you have if there’s no place to charge them up or fill them up,” Obama said. “So that’s why I’m announcing today a program that will put our communities on the cutting edge of what clean energy can do.
“To cities and towns all across the country, what we’re going to say is, if you make a commitment to buy more advanced vehicles for your community — whether they run on electricity or biofuels or natural gas — we’ll help you cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby,” he said.
Press secretary Jay Carney was asked by a reporter on Air Force One if Obama was going against the grain of consumer demand with the new incentives.
“It is simply a fact that these technologies are going to be developed somewhere, and where they are developed there will be good jobs associated with the development of those technologies,” Carney said. “The countries that best develop these technologies and utilize them will enhance their energy independence.
“And the president is absolutely committed, as part of his sustained, all-of-the-above approach to energy, to ensuring that we do not, in the United States of America, simply throw up our hands and cede the industries of the future to other countries, our competitors around the globe, including China, India, Spain, other European countries, Brazil,” he added.
In his address at the plant, Obama also took a dig at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s $2.50 gas mantra.
“The next time you hear some politician trotting out some 3-point plan for $2 gas, you let them know, we know better,” the president said.
According to the White House transcript, someone in the audience passed out right after Obama promised we can reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels.
“It looks like somebody might have fainted up here,” Obama said. “Have we got some of the EMS, somebody. Don’t worry about — folks do this all the time in my meetings. You’ve always got to eat before you stand for a long time. That’s a little tip. But they’ll be okay. Just make sure that — give them a little room. All right, everybody all right? Okay.”