MOUNT HOLLY, NC. — President Barack Obama toured Daimler Trucks North America’s Mount Holly, NC., manufacturing plant yesterday and spoke on alternative fuel technologies while praising DTNA’s commitment to natural gas, reported truckinginfo.com.
Obama spoke of rising gas prices, saying, noting that they start spiking every year about this time, "and everybody starts wondering, how high is it going to go? You and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem."
"We’re not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices," he told the audience, noting that the U.S. has 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but uses 20 percent of the world’s oil.
Demand in countries such as China, India and Brazil will drive oil prices up, Obama said, and demand and prices are only going to grow. "We can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century," Obama said. "We’ve got to continually develop new sources of energy."
Obama proposed expanded tax credits and community research grants to make alternative-energy vehicles more attractive.
He’s asking Congress to raise the tax credit to $10,000 from $7,500 for the purchase of an "advanced vehicle." The credit would be applied instantly at the dealership. The second tax change would target buyers of electric and natural gas-powered commercial trucks, including semi-tractor trailers. Those vehicles would qualify for a 50 percent tax credit for half the additional cost over a conventional truck, to help overcome the initial upfront cost.
In response to the proposal, the National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers said they would oppose any legislative provisions that would "create transferable tax credits between taxpayers for vehicle purchases. Creating a tax credit that is transferable between taxpayers is virtually unprecedented in the U.S. Tax Code. The traditional consumer tax credit has worked efficiently to incentivize vehicle sales. This proposal for transferability would needlessly complicate the vehicle buying process, create uncertainty, increase transactional costs and deter sales."
Obama congratulated DTNA for adding more than 1,000 jobs last year, hiring people who had lost jobs in the recession. Currently, the facility employs 1,450 people and produces 25,000 trucks annually.
Daimler sold its 1,000th natural gas truck in November 2011 — the first company to reach that milestone. Then last month, the Environmental protection Agency certified DTNA’s portfolio of model year 2013 on-highway vehicles as fully compliant with the new GHG14 regulations. They are the first and currently only commercial vehicle manufacturer to be certified compliant with GHG14 regulations.
"The Mount Holly Manufacturing facility is a wonderful example of the truck demand that is ramping up across all DTNA facilities," says Roger Nielsen, chief operating officer, DTNA. "In 2011 the facility more than tripled its production rate and is continuing to experience strong demand.
"President Barack Obama’s visit to the facilities is an honor that underscores our commitment to growing and sustaining employment in North Carolina."
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