The 2010 Detroit Auto Show kicked off this morning with a positive little speech by United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Speaking about the coming electrification of the automobile, he said that "this is what the American people want." When asked how much money the government would pay over the next decade for a plug-in vehicle infrastructure, all he would say is that the costs would be shared between industry and government.

LaHood also praised the assistance that Obama gave to the domestic automakers, especially General Motors and Chrysler, calling it a lifeline that was very much needed. When LaHood visited Detroit last October, he spent half-days with each of the Big Three, and came away from GM with the impression that the Chevrolet "Volt is obviously the kind of green car Americans are looking for." So says the guy who works for the government that owns 60 percent of the company that will sell the Volt.

The new CAFE standards were a major achievement for the Obama Administration, especially since they came so early in the administration. LaHood said he doesn't expect any push back from the automakers on higher standards in the future, since they were present with Obama when he made the announcement and worked together on the details. That initial agreement also began what LaHood called a "special relationship" between the government and the auto industry, one that he promised would be "long lasting."

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