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Pennsylvania: First State-Focused PHEV Initiative

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  • Felix Kramer
    Pennsyvlania State Rep. Mark Cohen, in office since 1974, is Democratic Caucus Chairman. This is the 3rd-highest ranking position in the House Democratic
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 31, 2005
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      Pennsyvlania State Rep. Mark Cohen, in office since 1974, is Democratic
      Caucus Chairman. This is the 3rd-highest ranking position in the House
      Democratic leadership. His website, http://www.keystonehybrid.com/ now
      joins http;//www.pluginaustin.org as a local information source with
      national implications. The site includes links to Austin, SetAmeircaFree,
      CalCars, etc. -- and notes that Pennsylvania's energy history includes
      Franklin's invention of an electric battery and the world's first
      commercial oil well.

      (If you want to point to this posting, its URL is

      State Rep. Mark Cohen


      Cohen proposes legislation to promote plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Pa.

      HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 -- State Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Phila., announced today
      that he is seeking co-sponsors for three bills he will introduce to promote
      and increase the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.

      Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are similar to today's Toyota Prius and
      Ford Hybrid Escape, but have larger batteries that can be charged overnight
      by plugging them in. With plug-in hybrids, the first 20 to 30 miles of
      driving each day are powered mainly by electricity rather than gasoline.
      This reduces gas costs for consumers to the equivalent of about $1 per gallon.

      "As Pennsylvania drivers face the prospect of paying up to $3 for a gallon
      of gas this Labor Day weekend, we need to do more to find a better way to
      reduce our dependence on foreign oil supplies," Cohen said.

      People testing plug-in hybrids have reported getting fuel economy of 100
      miles per gallon, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, have the
      potential to reach fuel economy levels of 250 to 500 miles per gallon when
      ethanol or other alternative fuels are also used, with fuel economy figures
      at about 80 to 100 miles per gallon for normal commuting.

      Cohen cited a speech by Takehisa Yaegashi, Toyota's chief engineer for
      hybrids, who said that computer chips are the heart of a hybrid. Cohen
      said: "I believe we can use technology to make gasoline engines more
      efficient and to make electric motors more powerful."

      In one of the first legislative proposals in any state legislature to
      specifically promote plug-in hybrids, Cohen's bills would exempt sales
      taxes on the conversion of existing hybrids to plug-in hybrids, or on the
      battery portion of a mass produced plug-in hybrid for three years;
      establish a state task force with representatives from the state
      Environmental Protection, Transportation and Revenue departments, along
      with the Public Utility Commission, to examine how this technology can be
      promoted within the Commonwealth; and a resolution asking car makers with
      plants in the United States to make, market and sell plug-in hybrids here.

      While the cost of additional batteries may be high today, Cohen believes
      that if Pennsylvania can provide incentives for the broader use of PHEVs
      and help convince major auto makers to mass produce them, the state's
      businesses and residents would benefit.

      Companies interested in this technology may be able to apply for grants
      under Pennsylvania's Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program. The
      application deadline for the program is Oct. 1.

      To provide additional information on this issue, Cohen announced the
      creation of a Web site at www.keystonehybrid.com, and suggested people
      interested in plug-in hybrids also visit the Web site www.calcars.org to
      learn about the efforts of a nonprofit group, The California Cars
      Initiative, to convert and promote an actual plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

      "Hybrid owners today are getting real savings at the gas pump, but with
      plug-in hybrids we could see a person filling a tank once a month." Cohen said.

      CONTACT: Dan Ocko
      Phone: 717-787-4117
      Fax: 717-783-6839
      Email: docko@...

      Additional contacts:
      Calcars.org founder Felix Kramer, 650-520-5555
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