White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked by reporters today aboard Air Force One if the administration’s plan to boost the tax credit for electric vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000 made sense in light of struggles for GM’s plug-in Chevrolet Volt. The Detroit automaker said Friday it will suspend production of the Volt for five weeks starting later this month.
The higher tax credit would cost $2 billion and would apply to other vehicles. President Barack Obama announced the plan at a trip to teh Daimler Trucks North America plant in North Carolina today.
Carney didn’t directly answer the question on the Volt.
Here is the exchange.
“GM had to suspend their Volt production because of low sales. Is the President sort of bucking consumer demand with these new incentives for alternative-fuel vehicles?”
MR. CARNEY: I have a great deal of data here that I can provide to you about the enormous benefits of, and significant demand for, the kind of fuel-efficient trucks and cars that the President’s visit today will highlight. With regards to heavy trucks and the — I think there’s something like — they account for 5 percent of the traffic on our roads and 20 percent of our oil consumption or gas consumption nationally. Those are rough stats. I can get you the specifics.
And 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. 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.
The President believes that for our economy to flourish in the 21st century, we need to be leaders in the alternative energy field, and that’s part of what this visit will highlight. “