Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said if Democrats win control of the chamber next year, he would put an ambitious plan on the floor to remove gas-powered vehicles from American roads by 2040.
Schumer’s $454 billion plan echoes “cash-for-clunkers,” a short-term vehicle scrappage incentive Congress enacted roughly a decade ago to give a boost to plummeting auto sales during the financial crisis and clean up the U.S. fleet.
Consumers would be given a “substantial” cash voucher to trade in older gasoline-powered cars for U.S.-assembled electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell autos, with additional rebates for lower income families. That part of the plan would cost $392 billion and would replace 25% of the U.S. gas-vehicle fleet with clean vehicles after 10 years, Schumer’s office said.
“What distinguishes this proposal is not only its scale but also its ability to unite the American environmental movement, the American labor movement and large automakers,” Schumer wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday night.
The plan also includes $45 billion in funding for states and cities to improve charging infrastructure, and another $17 billion to help ensure clean vehicles are made in America.
The original “cash-for-clunkers” incentive pushed U.S. auto sales in August 2009 to their first monthly gain in nearly two years.
Control of Senate
Republicans now control the Senate, 53-47. They’re favored to keep the chamber, but the ground is shifting as President Donald Trump’s approval ratings slip amid the ongoing impeachment probe and controversy over the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.
Four Senate Republicans are seen as at risk of losing their seats in 2020: Martha McSally of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Just one Democrat — Doug Jones of Alabama — is currently seen as endangered.