Obama Reelection Good News For Green Car Industry
Eco-car makers are hoping to receive a boost from the Obama administration, at least in the form of the continuation of the tax credits and subsidies that were a hallmark of his first term. They’re also hoping that Obama expands his support of the industry in the next four years by raising the tax incentive to buyers of green cars from $7,500 to $10,000. Whether this hope becomes a reality remains to be seen, especially in light of the fact that the House of Representatives still remains under Republican control.
During the first four years of the Obama administration, an estimated $80 billion of the stimulus recovery program was funneled into grants and loans to help move the country toward alternative energy programs, companies and research.
Despite the fact that alternative vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., the struggling industry still needs considerable federal support, with battery-powered car sales totaling only 20,000 units in 2011. Electric plug-in cars have also met with less consumer enthusiasm than anticipated, with sales of the Chevy Volt totaling less than half of its target projection for 2012.
Another deterrent to the growth of the green auto industry comes in the form of federal loan debt repayment. Automakers Tesla and Fisker, which both received low-interest loans from the government, have been under congressional pressure to repay their debt more quickly than anticipated. Both companies have struggled to launch new vehicles on the market as a result of the debt pressure. Debt repayment became an issue when the solar cell manufacturer Solyndra declared bankruptcy after borrowing more than $400 million from the federal government.
The Electric Drive Transportation Association, a representative agency for electric and hybrid carmakers says that it “Looks forward to continuing its work with President Obama and the newly elected Congress to advance technology that will diversify our transportation fuels.”