Truck News

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Feds should help pay for hybrids

Hybrids are getting a lot of press these days. And so they should. With fuel savings of 30-50% a year in medium-duty applications, the trucking community is taking notice. Investing in one of these be...




Hybrids are getting a lot of press these days. And so they should. With fuel savings of 30-50% a year in medium-duty applications, the trucking community is taking notice. Investing in one of these beauties is not only good for the bottom line (over time) but it’s good for the corporate image as well. Everyone knows that this planet is in real trouble (although some still have their heads in the sand) and this technology will help make a significant contribution in reducing the trucking industry’s footprint.

No doubt, there’s a premium to be paid – they do demand top dollar. You’ll see upwards of an additional forty grand tacked onto one of these vehicles (ouch!) but fear not, as with any new technology that has required so much time in research and development, the prices will eventually come down (one only has to remember the original cost of the hand-held calculator. They were a fortune back in the day).

Unfortunately, our government in its infinite wisdom has decided not to pass on any incentives to help take the sting out of the investment. Someone needs to wake up Mr. Harper’s P. R. Department to the fact that south of the border, the US government incentives cover up to 80% of the additional cost. Maybe Mr. Bush has been staying up late at night watching Mr. Gore’s video. Whatever, they got it right.

Not surprisingly, the Harper government couldn’t get the fuel-efficient car incentive program to run smoothly – in fact, they screwed that up royally. Flaherty announced the rebate before all the details were ironed out. The program was to start in March, 2007. In September they still hadn’t issued one cheque. Most of these rebates were under $2,000. Can you imagine what would happen if the government sat on hundreds (thousands) of $40,000 rebate cheques? It wouldn’t be pretty.

At the end of this year, the car incentive program – as inefficient as the process is – will be cancelled. Funny thing, a “green levy” on gasguzzling cars was introduced in the same 2007 budget that was meant to offset the cost of the rebate program. Although the car incentive program is being cancelled, that green levy tax will remain in place. I can’t help but think our government is sending us mixed signals. They say one thing, yet far too often their actions demonstrate another.

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.


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