Energy Bill Rush

In a 5/6/09 WSJ article, Stephen Power and Greg Hill report on the progress of the climate bill. Without specifying details, President Obama informed Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he “wants a bill that eases costs imposed on consumers and businesses, creates a predicatable set of rules, and addresses concerns that some regions of the country could shoulder disproportionately heavy costs.”

Obama plans to auction off CO2 permits and use the proceeds to fund middle class tax cuts. Representatives from the Rust Belt and the coal states are pushing for free permits for some industries in their districts. Texas lawmakers want free permits for oil and gas refiners.

Democrats and Republicans are arguing with each other and among themselves over the provisions of this bill. Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the Committee, may bypass what will probably be a contentious subcommitte vote in order to meet the President’s request that the bill get to him by Memorial Day.

Part of the bill will be a “cash for clunkers” provision, offering up to a $4500 rebate for people who buy cars that get at least 10 mpg more than the older car they are driving now. Car dealerships, particularly GM dealerships, could use a big stimulus.

A 1/27/09 US News article reported that “General Motors has 6,375 dealerships in the United States. Its closest rival, Ford, boasts less than 3,800. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, claims less than 2,000.”

In a 4/27/09 article, Bob Golfen at SpeedTV reports that “General Motors will close half its dealerships nationwide by 2014 and cease Pontiac production next year, according to an “undated viability plan” offered Monday by GM to the U.S. Treasury Department. “

If you are planning on using that rebate to get a new GM car this summer, call first to make sure the dealership is still in business.

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