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Congress should encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles

BRAD SHERMAN

Taxpayers who purchased a new hybrid vehicle in 2003 could claim a

tax deduction of up to $2,000 on Form 1040. Unfortunately, this tax

deduction for qualified clean-fuel vehicles is set to be reduced

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incrementally for purchases in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and expire

completely on Dec. 31, 2006.

Presently, the tax deduction is available to purchasers of a

Toyota Prius, Honda Insight or Honda Civic Hybrid and applied to

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expected models such as the 2004 Ford Escape and a General Motors

pickup due in 2005, which average 50 miles per gallon in the city.

Our priorities seem to be confused when 2004 buyers of H1 Hummers

(9 mpg, city) can receive $100,000 in immediate tax deductions, but

deductions for fuel efficient hybrids are being substantially

reduced.

As it is, Congress has a poor record of promoting environmentally-

friendly programs. We should be promoting public transportation,

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crafting an energy plan -- one that is not written by the energy

industry -- and requiring higher corporate average fuel economy

standards so that new vehicles get better mileage than today’s

vehicles.

The corporate average fuel economy standard for passenger

automobiles is 27.5 mpg, but only 20.7 mpg for light trucks, a

classification that also includes vans, minivans, and popular sport

utility vehicles.

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More efficient vehicles are not only better for the environment,

but they reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Recently, I introduced the Clean Fuel Vehicle Promotion Act, which

would promote environmental preservation by encouraging consumers to

purchase hybrid automobiles. My legislation would extend the tax

deduction available to those who purchase a hybrid in 2003 to

purchases in 2004, 2005, and 2006, thus encouraging purchases as new

technology develops.

My proposal not only has bipartisan support, it has been applauded

by the Sierra Club. The organization issued a statement saying hybrid

vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas to clean up our air, cut

America’s oil dependence and curb global warming. My bill will make

it easier for Americans to bring more clean cars onto the road and

start saving money at the gas pump.

Congress can, and should, demonstrate our commitment to

environmental preservation and to applying new technologies by

maintaining the tax deduction for clean-fuel vehicles. Passing the

Clean Fuel Vehicle Promotion Act is an easy way to prove that we are

serious about preserving the environment.

* REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-Burbank) represents roughly half of the San

Fernando Valley, including a portion of Burbank.


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