After serving large helpings of hope to the offshore drilling, "clean" coal, and nuclear power plant hungry crowd, John McCain is set to dish up some tasty dessert for famished clean car proponents. In a speech he will deliver today at Fresno State University in California, the presidential hopeful will lay out a series of proposals aimed at quickening the transformation to carbon-free transportation. The one that really caught our eye was his "Clean Car Challenge" that would award the not-insignificant amount of $300 million to the developer of new battery technology that has "the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars," and do it at 30 percent of the cost of what is currently available. Quite a challenge indeed.

Another enticement on the menu is a $5,000 tax credit for every new zero-carbon car. He is expected to announce, "For every automaker who can sell a zero-emissions car, we will commit a $5,000 tax credit for each and every customer who buys that car," (The AP version of the story claims the credit is for auto-makers while Reuters says it's for the buyer) Other "if-elected" actions are said to include higher fines for non-compliance with CAFE standards and a speeding up the flex-fuel capability of the nations fleet. "Whether it takes a meeting with automakers during my first month in office, or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil." It all sounds pretty good. Now, if he can just win that pesky election we'll see if he follows through.

[Source: Associated Press / Reuters UK]

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