This past Thursday I testified before the House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy and Resources. The hearing was about the role hybrids can play in helping reduce our oil dependence. We just posted my statement to the committee as a new Hybrid Watchdog that you can find here. Also testifying were representatives from Toyota and Honda, as well as Dr Andrew Frank from UC Davis. Toyota, as one might expect, joined me in urging the government to immediately lift the 60,000 vehicle cap on the number of vehicles eligible for the hybrid tax credit (though you might remember from Scott's blog that Toyota has made sure to note that they did not come up with the idea), and Dr Frank talked up plug-ins.
It was an interesting enough hearing and I am glad that a member like Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the subcommittee, is interested in the potential of hybrid technology, but I do hope that he and the other members who attended took away from this hearing the key facts I imparted in my testimony. I emphasized the importance of backing up incentives for hybrids with higher fuel economy standards for all vehicles, noting that although Honda and Toyota are the leaders in hybrids, both of them are projected to have lower overall fuel economy for their vehicle fleets this year than last year.
To be an important part of an overall clean vehicles solution, hybrids need to be the flagship of an overall fuel economy commitment, not a greenwash to cover for gas-guzzling business as usual. That goes for Congressional action just as much as it does for the automakers.
Posted by: Don