Jun 30, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas spoke by teleconference to the "Future Trends in Energy, Technology & Transportation" held by the Cascadia Center at the Microsoft Executive Conference Center in Redmond, Washington, on June 1. (We described the event at http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/414.html.) We've gotten a transcript of what he said. As you can see, the time we spent showing him our PHEV in DC had an impact. (See photos of him and many others at http://www.calcars.org/phevs-in-dc.html.) Here are excerpts from his remarks:
As you get oil up over $50 a barrel a number of economic alternatives kick in that didn't previously exist...what we need to do is get more electricity involved in our use of our cars and automobiles. One quick fact is about half of the country drives less than 30 miles a day, and if we could get that 30 miles off of electricity either through plug-in technology or gasoline car that recycles the energy it's using through batteries and recharging major batteries like the Honda Civic that I have, we can really rapidly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stretch our petrol much further than we currently have.
I was in a Prius that had been retrofitted that gets 100 MPG. It's got juiced up batteries that you plug in at night that had adapted to a basic Prius technology. They can get 100 miles to the gallon. The owner and developer of it said imagine filling up your car just 5 times a year was the way he was looking at it.
And I think the technology is here that we need to really embrace and rapidly bring on using them here to drop our foreign oil dependency. Using them here to reduce the threats that we receive from countries like Iran, potentially from Russia, and the competition from China, and then sell and spread that technology globally to other places and be first in the marketplace to develop it.
That's part of our thinking in the bipartisan bill that myself, Joe Lieberman, a number of others have put forward. And we have a companion piece of legislation in the House side. My thanks to Congressman Jack Kingston and Eliot Engel, a Republican and a Democrat, that have sponsored with Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act. It's a mouthful, but S2025 is the Senate bill with 25 bipartisan cosponsors. The basic thrust of it is to bring this technology on the marketplace more rapidly. We require the implantation of a computer chip in vehicles coming off assembly lines that can read alternate fuels, whether it's E85 or regular gasoline. We provide tax credits for people purchasing hybrid technology, we provide tax credits for companies developing high end diesel engines that can make much higher MPG and also hybrid technology and plug in technology. And within this as well we put forward funds for research and development into other types of vehicle options and the support of biofuels.
It's an exciting time and it's a good time and I think we can answer multiple questions of security, stretching our petrol further, environmental concerns, technology and economic competitiveness concerns by really embracing this challenge in the good old American way, and that's with innovation, good policy and market driven solutions.