On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his new plan to replace gas-powered vehicles with zero-emission cars in a trade-in scheme that will cost an estimated $454 billion over the next decade.
The New York Democrat released his new strategy in an Op-Ed for The New York Times, detailing the importance of producing alternative-fuel vehicles as a part of an ongoing discussion about climate change.
“If Democrats win control of the Senate in November 2020, I, as majority leader, will introduce bold and far-reaching climate legislation,” he wrote. “This proposal for clean cars would be a key element of that bill.”
Schumer’s strategy is an updated version of a policy floated during the Obama administration that proposed incentives to encourage American drivers to trade in older cars for new, more fuel-efficient models, according to The Washington Post.
Under Schumer’s plan, car owners who trade in their gas-powered cars will receive a rebate starting at $3,000 with the potential for more, depending on the efficiency of the new vehicle.
The goal of the program is to have American roads traveled exclusively by clean vehicles by the year 2040, eliminating around 63 million gas-powered cars by 2030, the senator wrote in The Times.
An estimated cost of $45 billion would be spent to produce additional charging stations and other maintenance and support for electronic vehicles, Fox News reported.
Another $17 billion would be spent to aid U.S. auto manufacturers in the production of zero-emission cars.
In his proposal, Schumer addressed the fact that the use of electric cars is already rising but said the transition is happening too slowly. That’s why he wants to spend billions speeding up the process.
The minority leader provided few details about how he would pay for the strategy, mentioning only a vague series of “grants” to cities, states and manufacturing plants.
Instead, Schumer emphasized that his plan would lead to an increased number of “good-paying” jobs for American workers and stressed the importance of competing with China as a global auto manufacturer.
“If we don’t match the level of China’s commitment, we will miss an enormous opportunity,” Schumer wrote.
He plans to propose the program if Democrats win the Senate in November 2020.
“This proposal to bring clean cars to all of America will be a key component of the far-reaching climate legislation from Senate Democrats, and I’m proud it has a broad coalition of support,” Schumer said in a statement, according to The Post.
Schumer, like other prominent democrats, continues to push for an aggressive legislative agenda on climate change in advance of the 2020 election.
The strategy follows the opposite approach of the Trump administration, as the president continues to vie for increased oil and gas production, along with the elimination of tax credits for electronic vehicles, according to Fox.
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