December 06, 2006

Wyden, Bennett Launch Plan to Put Millions of Energy-Saving Vehicles on American Roads

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) today proposed a plan that would reward drivers for buying more fuel efficient cars, trucks and SUVs.

The Oil Independence, Limiting Subsidies and Accelerating Vehicle Efficiency (OILSAVE) Act would offer consumers a tax credit for purchasing qualified energy saving vehicles. The credit would be fully funded by eliminating a single, unneeded tax deduction currently available to oil companies.

"By limiting just one unnecessary tax break for the largest oil companies, millions of consumers can be rewarded through their wallets for doing their part to make America energy independent." Wyden said. "The United States is currently consuming more than 13 million barrels of foreign oil each day on our roads. That statistic is not good for our economy or our foreign policy."

"I'm happy to join with Senator Wyden in this effort to make more innovative fuel-efficient technologies available to more consumers," said Bennett. "This legislation builds on the success of the Energy Policy Act passed last year, which included the popular hybrid vehicle tax credit benefiting thousands of consumers today. This is a logical next step toward finding a solution to reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

The Wyden-Bennett legislation builds on the incentives for hybrid gasoline-electric powered cars included in last year's energy bill. But unlike the hybrid credit, the OILSAVE Act takes a technology-neutral approach and allows any vehicle with superior fuel efficiency to qualify for a credit, whether it uses hybrid or conventional technologies.

Senators Wyden and Bennett said that consumers who buy vehicles that are at least 25 percent more fuel efficient than the applicable CAFÉ standard for cars, trucks and SUVs, will get a tax credit of at least $630 and as much as $1860 for the most fuel efficient models. The credit amount would be printed on the window sticker of new vehicles. The consumer could claim the tax credit on his or her tax return or transfer it to an auto dealer - providing a "cash back" option to consumers at the time of purchase.

The OILSAVE legislation repeals one tax advantage major oil companies now get and agree they do not need - saving taxpayers $6.8 billion. That savings more than covers the $1.3 billion per year cost of the OILSAVE tax credit program.