WASHINGTON (May 25, 2000)—Vice President Al Gore congratulated the Big Three auto makers for "trying to go beyond what you knew how to do" in creating hybrid diesel-electric, low-emissions, high-fuel-efficiency cars.
Mr. Gore joined top executives of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler A.G. at a March 30 press conference to unveil the Dodge ESX 3, Ford Prodigy and GM Precept—all the fruit of the auto makers´ collaboration under Gore´s brainchild, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles.
The three aerodynamic, family-size vehicles offer fuel efficiency equivalent to 80 miles per gallon of gasoline, according to the companies. They are equipped with Michelin low-rolling-resistance radials, size P205/50R20 LRR, mounted on "the most fuel-saving wheel design in the world," said GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce.
Building low-emissions, high-fuel-efficiency cars has become imperative, according to Mr. Gore—not just for environmental and fuel conservation concerns, but for national security.
"Part of the equation is that we import half of the oil we use, and we expect this to increase to 60 percent over the next decade," Mr. Gore said. The recent steep increases in gasoline prices drive home the point that "we´ve got to do more to ensure our independence from a fuel source that makes us vulnerable."
The Big Three have been able to get the price differential of the PNGV vehicles over today´s cars down to $7,500 from $60,000 only four years ago. Still, the executives said, it is unlikely that most consumers would be willing to pay $7,500 more up front in exchange for low emissions and saving fuel.
Because of this, Mr. Gore said he and President Clinton are heeding the Big Three´s wishes and proposing legislation to allow a $4,000 credit to each taxpayer who buys an ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle.