There's no shortage of news from Capitol Hill these days regarding the American auto industry, plug-in hybrids and higher gas mileage cars. But it's not every day that Mr. Rob Lowe makes an appearance.

As we mentioned last week, Lowe spoke at a hearing by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Lowe spoke about America's oil addiction, energy independence, the War in Iraq and advanced technology cars. He called clean cars with no or low emissions "dreams."

What's interesting is that General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler were not invited to the hearing by committee chairman Rep. Ed Markey, (D-Mass.) who proposed the Plug-in Hybrid Opportunity Act of 2007. The auto industry was not totally excluded, as the head of A123 Systems was present. Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy and a former Defense Department official in the Reagan Administration said at the hearing that Chery, the Chinese automaker, could build a PHEV for $12,000. "I dare say that will be the end of Detroit if that vehicle is available in large numbers in America in the near future," he said.

Lowe, who drives a converted PHEV from A123, said, "I have been driving this car around and I have to tell you, it did what my mother couldn't do. It did what my driving instructor couldn't do -- it's made me a better driver."

There's a video of Lowe's statements at the hearing after the break.

[Source: AP, Detroit Free Press, YouTube, h/t to Kent Y. and Linton]



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