We're waiting for the Automotive X Prize's big announcement next week, but the U.S. Senate has decided that now is as good a time as any to heap some bipartisan praise on the X Prize foundation for inspiring "a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that could help break the addiction of the United States to oil and stem the effects of climate change." The Senate passed S. Res. 486 (PDF) today with strong support form Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Other Senators named by the foundation as leaders in getting the resolution passed were Michigan's Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (both Democrats) and Pete Domenici (R-NM). The House passed a similar resolution in early February. You can read statements from some of the legislators after the jump as we think about what these promised amazing cars will be like when they finally get on the road. Oh wait, the Auto X Prize hasn't even officially started yet. Guess patience is the answer, for now.
Press Release:

United States Senate Passes a Resolution Praising the Automotive X PRIZE

Senate Resolution Introduced by Senators Lugar and Bingaman and Passed Early Today Applauds the Foundation's Leadership in Inspiring a New Generation of Viable, Super-Efficient Vehicles

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - March 14, 2008) -

Automotive X PRIZE
Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), along with Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Pete Domenici (R-NM), today led the passage of a Senate resolution congratulating the X PRIZE Foundation's leadership in inspiring a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles. The Senate resolution follows an earlier House resolution introduced by Congressman Daniel E. Lungren (R-CA) which passed February 6th, 2008.

The Automotive X PRIZE is a private, independent, technology-neutral competition being developed by the X PRIZE Foundation. The prize will award a multimillion dollar purse to teams that can design, build, and demonstrate production-capable vehicles that achieve 100 MPG or its energy equivalent (MPGe).

As noted by Senator Bingaman, "This prize promises to help harness the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of America's best minds to one of our greatest problems: our over-reliance on foreign oil. It should be an exciting competition and it is certainly a worthy goal. I wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing the innovations they inspire."

"The dual passage of both the House and Senate resolutions demonstrates that our elected officials understand the real issues consumers are facing today and that real solutions will require the American spirit of free enterprise," noted Don Foley, Executive Director of the Automotive X PRIZE. "This high-profile competition is igniting ideas and concepts across the globe to help solve the challenge of energy security and climate change."

The Automotive X PRIZE is open to all -- automakers large and small as well as innovators -- who believe that the goal of a 100 MPGe vehicle is not only possible but essential if we are to break our addiction to oil.

"United States national security and economic prosperity demand that we move toward a sustainable energy future," added Senator Lugar. "The global trend of foreign governments asserting greater control over oil reserves allows unfriendly regimes to use their energy exports as leverage against the United States and our allies. Establishment of the Automotive X Prize demonstrates remarkable vision and leadership. I am particularly encouraged that development of the prize benefits from insights of a diverse group of government, non-government, university and industry representatives."

With only a few days until the Foundation's public announcement of the multimillion dollar prize purse and title sponsor at the New York Auto Show on March 20, the Automotive X PRIZE will signal the beginning of this competition as well as the hope that the country's dependence on foreign oil and its reliance on a depleting fuel source will one day come to an end.

"We thank Senators Lugar and Bingaman for their leadership and commitment to the goals that this competition represents to the United States as well as the entrepreneurial American spirit that it will inspire for the benefit of mankind," added Foley.

Today's action by the Senate adds to the significant support that the Automotive X PRIZE has garnered from a diverse group of politicians and government agencies, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Houston Mayor Bill White, along with support from The U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner, The Department of Transportation (NHTSA and Federal Highway Administration) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

To read the complete Senate resolution, please visit auto.xprize.org.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org or email prcontact@xprize.org.

[Source: X Prize Foundation]

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