Are you a U.S. automaker? Do you want a billion dollars? Have we got a deal for you! Just build 60,000 cars that get 100 miles per gallon and the government will send a truckload of cash to your office doors (or, perhaps, mail a check).

H.R. 3872 – the Excellence in Energy Efficiency Act of 2012 – was just introduced by Representative Dan Lungren (R) of California's 3rd Congressional District. If passed, the legislation would have the Secretary of Energy "establish a program to award a prize in the amount of $1,000,000,000 to the first automobile manufacturer incorporated in the United States to manufacture and sell in the United States 60,000 mid-sized sedan automobiles which operate on gasoline and can travel 100 miles per gallon."

That's right, no cheating with subcompacts toys or fancy all-electrics, it's for adult-sized gasoline-burners only. It's unclear whether plug-in hybrids such as the Chevy Volt or upcoming Ford Fusion Energi might be eligible, but we doubt it since OpenCongress says the subtitle is, "To provide a prize to the first manufacturer of highly-efficient mid-sized automobiles powered by gasoline," and the Volt already comes in at 93 MPGe.

While established automakers couldn't be lured in by the measly $1 million offered by the Progressive X-Prize, we're sure they'd be more than happy to accept a check with the big B on it. The question this proposed law begs, though, is would they make an extra effort to achieve this sort of sky-high efficiency goal under other circumstances?


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  • 94 Comments
      Jason Alan Sipes
      • 2 Years Ago
      Or you know, this $1 billion could go to help pay off our debt.
      The Minogue's
      • 2 Years Ago
      AND WHERE IS THAT MONEY GOING TO COME FROM???????
      surffmaster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another reason to tax the crap out of the citizenry, these buffoons never stop.
      eddyjoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      mmmmm... kenynesian economics at its best! taxpayer money fail.
        Thipps
        • 2 Years Ago
        @eddyjoe
        YESSS knowing that you know what "kenynesian" means i know you must be a fellow Ron Paul supporter....right?
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 2 Years Ago
      Better than giving the money to Egypt or Pakistan.
        eddyjoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        how about we not give the money to egypt, pakistan, or use taxpayer money as bait. let the free market decide what people want.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @eddyjoe
          [blocked]
          montoym
          • 2 Years Ago
          @eddyjoe
          @ axiomatik: You are correct in the short term. Funny though, your comment about the free market being short-sighted is followed up by your short-sighted analysis. quote: - "The free market's answer to these questions is simple. Gas prices would skyrocket, and our economy would crater as a result. Poor people wouldn't be able to drive anymore. All transportation costs would go up, all prices would go up. etc etc." - Yes, in the short term the prices would skyrocket, just like we see whenever there is a disruption for other reasons such as hurricanes or other natural disasters. But, just like in those other cases, the prices will again normalize as the supply and demand move back into equilibrium. For instance, if the prices skyrocket as you state, isn't that going to affect demand? Demand isn't going to continue at the same rate if the price suddenly climbs, you even stated so by mentioning that poor people wouldn't be able to drive, which is only part of the demand drop that would occur. That decrease in demand puts downward pressure on the prices and they will come down over time. If you want to sell more of something, you don't raise the price, you lower it. Basically, your comment sounds as though you never want prices to fluctuate and the free market should ensure that prices are always level and fair for all. This is not, nor should be the case with the free market. The free market allows those price spikes (and drops) to occur because they need to occur in order for market to function properly. You can't regulate the market such that prices never change. You will cause massive issues in other related areas by doing so.
          axiomatik
          • 2 Years Ago
          @eddyjoe
          The free market is short sighted. What would happen if a war erupted over the Strait of Hormuz? What if terrorists managed to blow up a Saudi port? What would happen to gas prices? What would those gas prices do to our economy? The free market's answer to these questions is simple. Gas prices would skyrocket, and our economy would crater as a result. Poor people wouldn't be able to drive anymore. All transportation costs would go up, all prices would go up. etc etc. What if there were a severe disruption in the oil supply chain? What if we had to ration gasoline? When we have to rely on imports for almost half of our nation's oil consumption, the US is left in a precarious position. One of the purposes of the government is to do this kind of long-term planning and protect our economy from instability.
      Pj Taintz
      • 2 Years Ago
      sorry, As a taxpayer, I dont want to pay for this. Eff you dude for putting this bill through
        bobmarley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Pj Taintz
        ...an example of why California is in so much debt
          bobmarley
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bobmarley
          lol...the fact that its a national program doesn't negate my point...its a stupid idea from a California politician and he is proposing this for nothing more than a political strategy
          lasertekk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bobmarley
          This is a national program. This is why reading comprehension is important....
      invmartyc
      • 2 Years Ago
      The GOP, fiscally conservative? Why not use this money to have Nasa work on this, keep the space boys employed and then sell the know how to the automakers! It would be a win-win for the tax payers!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @invmartyc
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Kent Koester
          • 2 Years Ago
          Because loosing all that tax revenue is a great idea. Where will the replacement income come from? You? Me?
      Justin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait a second, I never said I wanted to pay for this.
      dreadcthulhu01
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, what test does this vehicle need to get 100 mpg on? The Prius gets 50 mpg on the EPA test you see on the car sticker, but 71 mpg on the test used for CAFE calculations. And does it have to be a sedan? I am not a fan of hatchbacks, but it would be silly to arbitrarily disqualify them.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      lasertekk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait. A Republican proposing we give money to a science and technology-based endeavor to create a high MPG (and likely clean running) vehicle that would ultimately allow the country to use less oil? A Republican? Hell just froze over.
        RJC
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lasertekk
        A republican? What's the catch? The whole truth is not coming out here. There's a lot more money involved somewhere in the fine print.
        rlog100
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lasertekk
        Oil isn't afraid of people using less. They can simply charge more for it. And if they have to pump less, that's a lower cost to them. They fear a competing fuel sources. They prettymuch successfully propagandized against ethanol. The Volt gets 'the treatment' not just because of Obama but because its electric that's actually practical. Not a 2-seater putt putt.
      tracymcgrady1421
      • 2 Years Ago
      I find it sad that our legislation prefers to try and improve a dirty fuel instead of funding alternative energy to power an automobile. The goal should not be a car that can go 100 mpg, but rather a car with 0 harmful emissions.
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