Spin Doctors Send Mixed Message

August 12, 2008 at 9:30 am 2 comments

Both Senators McCain and Obama have expressed support towards the development of alternative fuel and vehicle technologies – but which candidate has the best green car platform? As we look ahead to November and elect the next President of the United States, it is important to consider the wider ramifications of green car policy development and which candidate support initiatives favoring such a policy. Such initiatives need to be thought out in a comprehensive fashion to avoid sending mixed signals to the industry.

Recently, the Christian Science Monitor brought together five clean energy experts to assess each candidate’s platform. Here’s are the results:


  • Calls for federal investments of $150 billion over 10 years for next-generation fuels and for commercialization of plug-in hybrids.
  • Wants an expansion of locally-owned bio-fuel refineries.
  • Plans to add 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to fuel supply by 2022.
  • Intends to double fuel economy standards within 18 years, while offering tax breaks and federal loan guarantees to US auto companies.
  • Calls for federal tax credits for hybrids.
  • Wants all new cars to be flex-fuel vehicles.


  • Wants to create a tax credit for consumers of up to $5,000 for buying a green car.
  • Plans to establish penalties to car companies for violating federal fuel-efficiency standards.
  • Calls for a $300 million prize to improve battery technology for plug-in hybrid or electric cars.
  • Wants to remove or reduce tariffs on imported ethanol.

If we really consider what McCain and Obama are saying, neither candidate is offering to ‘blaze a trail’ for a better future. Both men want tax credits for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, but there are already federal and state incentives in place. The only difference is that McCain offers a dollar value that is roughly double the existing credit. Likewise, Mr. Obama’s push for bio-fuels and renewable energy are also already covered by current EPA and DOE objectives, including grants for new and existing bio-fuels refineries.

A majority of the items listed by the candidates were, in fact, penned into the CAFE standards by the Clinton administration, which were ultimately revised, rewritten, or lined out by the US Congress. In reality, the only ‘new’ ideas being presented can be pared down to:


  • Wants all new cars to be flex-fuel vehicles.


  • Calls for a $300 million prize to improve battery technology for plug-in hybrid or electric cars.
  • Wants to remove or reduce tariffs on imported ethanol.

Yet, in stark contrast to either candidate’s stance on environmentally friendly transportation, both McCain and Obama have recently come out in support of off-shore drilling for oil. Huh?

What their rather mixed message is really telling us is that, whether Obama or McCain cinch the presidency, automakers will be allowed to continue production of internal combustion engine vehicles, rather than stimulate alternative vehicle development.

While there is much more than a candidate’s stance on green car initiatives to consider in selecting the next president, this information can offer us a glimpse into how clear, concise, or truthful a candidate is being. This can allow us to make assumptions regarding a candidate’s political character and more insight as to how they may stand on other issues.

By briansrapier

[via Christian Science Monitor]


Entry filed under: Biofuels, Emerging Technologies, Energy, Environment, Informational, Politics, Research. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Miracle Grow An Open Letter to the Next US President

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Spin Doctors Send Mixed Message  |  August 12, 2008 at 9:37 am

    […] Go to the author’s original blog: Spin Doctors Send Mixed Message […]

  • 2. dummidumbwit  |  August 12, 2008 at 12:27 pm


    Deregulation combined with 30-40 new Nuclear Reactors is a nightmare, is some one going to tell me that John McCain is not in favor of deregulating everything. A coal mine collapsed recently due to lax regulations. Am I making my point, McCain needs to specifically say he is in favor of tough regulations on the Nuclear Power industry, as is he’s saying build em and watch em meltdown, or what is he saying?


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