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Lieberman proposal: Hybrid autos to combat manmade global warming

By Abram Katz (Bristol Press) - January 22, 2005

Within two years, 10 percent of new autos sold in the United States would have to be hybrid electric-gasoline vehicles under proposed legislation by U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.

Lieberman, D-Conn., addressing a global climate change conference at Yale University on Friday, said that the U.S. transportation system must be transformed “from the refinery to the tail pipe and each step in between.”

After a century of debate, evidence of manmade global warming is overwhelming, he said.

“If the leadership of the United States does not come to grips with the facts that we need a new energy policy … we are not only putting this nation’s security, economy and public health at risk, but the world’s as well,” he said in prepared remarks.

Lieberman said that agricultural waste and grassland could be used to produce 15 to 35 billion gallons of alcohol a year.

“Gasoline is not the only portable source of stored energy,” he said.

A new generation of plug-in hybrids could use alcohol-enhanced fuel to achieve up to 500 miles per gallon, Lieberman said.

Unlike current hybrid autos, the batteries in hybrid plug-ins could be charged when the engine is off, saving fuel.

Lieberman said he soon plans to introduce legislation to require 10 percent of new cars to be hybrid electric plug-in or alternative fuel vehicles by 2007.

In seven years, 50 percent of the new cars sold in America would have to be hybrid electric or based on other gasoline-saving technology, according to the proposed bill.

Lieberman’s legislation would also require the U.S. to save 5 million barrels of oil a day within 10 years, and 10 million barrels a day within 20 years.

Lieberman said he also plans to reintroduce the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, which would mandate a rollback of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. to 2000 levels by the end of the decade.

Lieberman and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced the bill last year but it was defeated 60-38.