Rain Dances and Electric Car Introductions
"An old Cherokee indian chief once said that the success of a rain dance is in its timing," quipped retired United States Senator Byron Dorgan from North Dakota. The same thing applies to the introduction of the electric vehicle, which as been coming for more than a century now, he explained.
"Exactly one hundred years ago, President Taft, he of expansive girth, got tired of using a horse and buggy to get to and from the White House, so he authorized the purchase of the first presidential automobile, one of which was a Baker Electric," he noted. "So, this is not a new, new thing."
In this 10:51 video recorded on 9 June 2011 at The House of Sweden in Georgetown, Maryland, site of the Swedish Embassy, Dorgan laces his talk about U.S. government policy regarding electric vehicles with insightful personal experiences and humor. He tells the assembled audience of government officials, industry representatives and invited media that we inevitably will change how we propel our vehicles largely because of two key factors: national security concerns over our dependence on foreign oil and worries over the damage we are going to the environment because of our fossil fuel dependency.
He answers right-wing critics who claim the Obama Administration's support for electric cars means the government is "picking winners and losers," by reminding everyone that in 1916 the federal government picked the oil and gas industry as the "winner" for the next 100 years by giving it generous tax breaks and subsidies.
Despite the "wet cement" as he terms it that is the U.S. Congress today, he believes there is strong bipartisan support for policies to address the problem of oil dependence, but that it will take committed leadership that includes not just grants and loans to promote EV technology, but ever-stronger efficiency standards and, yes, even high taxes on gasoline and diesel.
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