Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate faction, has presented a $454BN ten-year plan to get combustion vehicles off the country’s roads and to aid the US manufacture and sale of electric vehicles.
The plan provides $392 billion in subsidies for owners of at least eight-year-old gasoline vehicles to exchange them for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or fuel cell cars and scrap the old vehicles. The state subsidies per vehicle should amount to 3,000 to 5,000 dollars, low-income buyers could be supported with an additional 2,000 dollars.
Schumer’s plan also includes $45 billion for additional charging stations and $17 billion in incentives for automakers to build new factories or retrofit existing ones to produce zero-emission vehicles. The goal is that by 2040 “all vehicles on the road should be clean.”
The plan would “reduce the number of CO2-emitting cars on the road, create thousands of well-paid jobs and accelerate the transition to zero CO2 emissions by mid-century,” said Schumer as Reuters reported.
The promotion of mobility and the US car industry could become an important issue in the upcoming presidential campaign and congressional elections. Both Democrats and Republicans want to win the votes of car workers in the Midwest swing states.
Schumer said that his proposal already has the support of labour unions, carmakers and the country’s largest environmental groups. According to Reuters, Ford and General Motors both said they “appreciated” Schumer’s proposal, with GM explicitly stating that they appreciated the effort to “advance electrification through much-needed infrastructure investments, consumer incentives and promotion of American electric vehicle manufacturing.”
Gary Jones, United Auto Workers President said that the Schumer proposal “honors the sweat and sacrifice of American autoworkers by investing in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and incentivizing high quality jobs across the auto supply chain.”
While backing fossil fuel industries in the States is not exclusive to the Republican Party, it seems that the Democrats are trying to support electric mobility with investments and subsidies while Trump is focusing on watering down the Obama government’s emission targets for cars. Although Trump claims he is protecting the industry and US American jobs, US carmakers and Unions to not appear to share his opinion.
Both Ford and General Motors are investing billions in electric vehicles and US carmakers are pushing hard to stop Trump from watering down emissions standards. Already a year ago, GM General Vice President Mark Reuss said that “we believe in a policy approach that better promotes U.S. innovation” and that contrary to Trump’s current approach “A National Zero Emissions Program will drive the scale and infrastructure investments needed to allow the U.S. to lead the way to a zero-emissions future.”
On a state level, there is also a lot of political clout being harnessed to reduce emissions across America. California and 22 other US states have now filed lawsuits against the Trump administration, who is trying to deny them the right to set their own – higher – emissions standards.
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