Obama prompts tax credits, research grants for alternative-fuel vehicles


President Obama yesterday proposed expanded tax credits and subsidies, along with community research grants, to make alternative-energy cars and trucks more attractive to buyers.

Speaking at a Daimler Trucks North America plant in Mount Holly, NC, he said electric, natural gas and hydrogen-powered vehicles would be covered by the plan, which is part of his strategy to cushion the U.S. against rising oil costs.

He noted “there are no quick fixes to this problem,” and said the country needs to continually develop new energy sources.

The president also called for increasing to $10,000 an existing $7,500 credit per vehicle for consumers and businesses that buy alternative-fuel vehicles to bring their purchase price more in line with conventional models.

Additionally, Obama proposed a new five-year tax break for those who buy commercial trucks that run on electricity or natural gas. Purchasers would get to reduce their tax liability by an amount equal to half the price difference between an alternative-power truck and a similar, lower-priced conventional vehicle.

Obama also offered a new, $1 billion program to as many as 15 U.S. cities to finance investments in clean-vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations. This would require congressional approval.