PHOENIX (Reuters) - John McCain will push on Monday for car makers to build more environmentally friendly vehicles, threatening new legislation if they do not comply and proposing tax breaks to encourage consumers to buy “cleaner” cars.
According to excerpts of his speech obtained by Reuters, the Republican presidential candidate will call for auto manufacturers to speed up the process of making engines that can use alcohol-based fuels.
“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,” he will say.
The Arizona senator who has wrapped up his party’s White House nomination, will also propose tax incentives to prod Americans to buy vehicles that produce less pollution.
“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,” he will say.
“For other vehicles, whatever type they may be, the lower the carbon emissions, the higher the tax credit.”
McCain will say that the existing financial penalties levied on car makers for not complying with fuel efficiency standards — known as U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) — are too low.
His speech, set to be given in Fresno, California, is his latest outlining a series of proposals to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and fight global warming.
High gasoline prices have put energy issues in the spotlight of the presidential campaign. Democrat Barack Obama, McCain’s rival in the November election, laid out a plan on Sunday to crack down on speculation in oil markets.
Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by Chris Wilson