THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE LAUDS AUTOMAKERS FOR WORK TO PRODUCE HIGHER-EFFICIENCY VEHICLES
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore today applauded a major milestone in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles -- the unveiling of three concept cars demonstrating the technical feasibility of creating cars capable of getting 80 miles per gallon -- and welcomed new commitments by automakers to begin marketing increased fuel efficiency vehicles that incorporate these technologies in three to four years.
Today, each of the automakers also announced its commitment to move PNGV technology out of the lab and onto the road by putting vehicles with significant improvements in fuel economy into volume production and into dealers' showrooms.
"For the first time, we look forward to a date when remarkable new technologies like this will be moving from research labs to showrooms and dealerships across the country," the Vice President said. "These leading auto makers believe that within four years, cars with greater fuel efficiency will be mass-produced, and ready for purchase by the American people. That is critical to our prosperity and our future."
"This is truly a mountiantop moment for America and I believe we have to use this moment, to make our investments that will keep our progress and prosperity going, far into the future," the Vice President said. "By reducing our dependence on foreign oil; by reducing pollution throughout our economy; and by positioning the American auto industry as the world leader in a crucial market in this new economy -- the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles can help to keep our economic engine humming for decades to come."
The dependence of foreign oil by the United States has made it very vulnerable creating dramatic fluctuations in the price of oil. The promise of new fuel-cell technologies means that America does not permanently have to over-depend on foreign oil producers. Currently, the United States imports 50 percent of its oil consumption with its reliance on foreign resources expected to grow to 60 percent by 2010. The production of these energy efficient cars provides the country with a long-term solution to our gas crisis.
"Energy-efficient cars will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Right now, millions of Americans are paying higher gas prices. The Administration has been working very hard to encourage the OPEC nations to increase production -- and as both Republican and Democratic leaders have said, that's the best way to reduce prices at the pump in the near-term. But, we need to push even further -- and we're going to continue to monitor the worlds oil markets very closely in the coming months."
The Vice President called on Congress to help make these cars affordable to the American people by approving the Administration's proposed tax credit worth up to $4,000 for the purchase of qualifying vehicles. He also announced an expansion of the PNGV research program directed to technologies that would produce higher fuel economy in SUVs, minivans and other light-duty trucks.
"Now we must lead the world in the emerging market for more fuel-efficient cars -- and vehicles of all kinds," Vice President Gore.
At today's event, executives of the three automakers displayed their latest concept cars. All three cars employ some form of hybrid technology that combines a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine with an electric motor to increase fuel economy.
PNGV, launched by the Vice President in 1993, is a unique research collaboration between federal agencies and USCAR, a consortium representing DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors. The partnership's goal is to produce a "production prototype" by 2004 of a full sized car that will get three times the mileage of today's models with no sacrifice in safety performance, affordability or compliance with emission standards.
An audio version of the Vice President's remarks from today's event can be found on the White House actuality line at (202) 456-5671. ###