U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer Proposes $454 Billion EV Incentive Program To Get Drivers Out Of Gasoline Cars

It looks like a modern "Cash for Clunkers" plan

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is proposing an idea to get Americans out of gasoline vehicles into electric or hybrid cars over the next decade. The Senate Minority Leader said in a statement that his plan would provide a $3,000 to $5,000 rebate to transition 25 percent of the U.S. fleet, or 63 million vehicles, away from internal combustion within the next 10 years, according to a Reuters report.

While the Senator’s plan as laid out in an op-ed piece in the New York Times calls for a massive $454 billion in rebates and incentives, there are currently no details as to how the government would pay for the plan. It also does not explicitly address the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes by which the cars are built, or cleaner power stations to address how the electricity reaching the EVs is generated. At the moment, the proposal focuses on electric cars themselves. Getting people into electric cars will reduce Americans’ dependence on fossil fuels, his proposal argues.

Electify America Charging Stations
Electrify America announced suppliers to install 2,000 electric car chargers across the country. [Photo: Electrify America]

Schumer said the deal is estimated to “create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in this country and should re-establish the United States as a world leader in auto manufacturing.” It would also adopt rules similar to the Obama administration’s $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” plan that aimed to stimulate auto manufacturing and sales after the 2008 financial crisis and get people into cleaner, more modern cars.

Beyond the rebate, Schumer’s proposal aims to provide $45 billion for additional charging stations. $17 billion in incentives would go to automakers that build new factories or retool existing ones to build zero-emission vehicles or charging equipment. The proposal, which carries support from groups like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, directly contrasts the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency requirements by 2026.

Responding to climate change

In the wake of intensifying catastrophic weather events and political maneuvering on both sides of the political spectrum in preparation for the upcoming 2020 election, climate change is one of the key campaign issues. Schumer promises he will push his proposal forward should Democrats win control of the U.S. Senate in 2020. He hopes to enact this proposal while both parts of Congress are under Democratic majority, though he says “achieving progress in Washington on any major issue requires a broad coalition to break through the partisan gridlock.”

Other 2020 candidates have placed weaning America off fossil fuels among their priorities, contingent on the election’s outcome.

A Car and Driver poll shows a small lead in favor of such a large spending program to boost electric car sales. Those against the proposal argue that government programs aren’t the best way forward. Let us know what you think in the comments below.