McCain and Obama on Transportation and Energy

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In case you hadn’t heard, this country will hold a presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 4. KickingTires presents to you the respective proposals on energy and transportation issues from Arizona Sen. John McCain and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The candidates have many issue areas where their proposals overlap, so we’ve broken down the plans, followed by their areas of strong disagreement. As always, we’d love to know what you think in the comments. Read the full breakdown after the jump.

John McCain
Transportation: Sen. McCain proposes a Clean Car Challenge that will award one automaker a $5,000 consumer tax credit for the first zero-carbon-emission car, a $300 million prize to the developer of the first battery package that will “leapfrog” current plug-in and electric technology, and an elimination of tariffs and subsidies that support domestic bio-fuels, like ethanol.

Energy: McCain wants to use tax credits to support wind, solar, hydro-electric and bio-fuels and increase domestic oil and natural-gas production. He also wants to invest in clean-coal technology and a cap-and-trade system for carbon, and build 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030.

Barack Obama
Transportation: Sen. Obama’s most ambitious proposal is to have one million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015. To encourage this, he wants to create a $7,000 tax credit for any advanced plug-in vehicle and increase fuel economy standards by 4% each year while providing $4 billion to domestic automakers to retool and encourage the production of these cars. He also supports bio-fuels and wants 60 billion gallons of it phased into the fuel supply by 2030.

Energy: Obama wants to invest $15 billion a year to develop alternative energy sources like wind, solar and hydro-electric, with the goal of having 25% of American energy come from these sources by 2025. He also wants to invest in clean-coal technology, implement a carbon cap-and-trade system and weatherize a million low-income homes each year.

The Major Differences:
Not surprisingly, McCain favors a market-based approach to developing plug-in hybrid cars and alternative energy sources, while Obama wants more direct government involvement in research and development. The candidates differ on bio-fuels, with Obama — a farm state senator — supporting ethanol subsidies while McCain vehemently opposes them, as well as tariffs on imported bio-fuels. Obama firmly believes in raising fuel efficiency standards quickly, while McCain supports only the current ones.

On energy issues, it’s a difference of emphasis: While both support a complete energy package, McCain stresses domestic drilling and nuclear energy while Obama emphasizes renewable energy sources. Finally, Obama supports a windfall profit tax on oil companies, with the revenue supporting a $1,000 energy rebate to American families. McCain opposes such a measure, citing its uneven results during the Carter administration.

Click here to see McCain’s energy plan and click here to see Obama’s.

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