Pennsylvania: First State-Focused PHEV Initiative
- 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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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
Calcars.org founder Felix Kramer, 650-520-5555