In an opinion piece published in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Mike Jackson, the Chairman and CEO of AutoNation, makes a case for plug-in hybrids.
AutoNation is the nation’s largest auto dealership group with 350 new vehicle dealers in more than 15 states. Its 2005 revenues were $19.2 billion.
Jackson believes that the plug-in hybrid will shatter the discrepancy between stated consumer interest in hybrids and actual sales.
That brings us to what I believe will be one of the technologies that ultimately will address America’s addiction to oil: the plug-in hybrid.
Next-generation batteries are significantly more powerful and can tolerate discharging and charging much more forgivingly than earlier versions. And that opens up the possibility of creating a vehicle that will deliver genuine benefits to consumers and society.
Consider an all-electric mode that has a 50-mile range before the gasoline engine kicks in. A vehicle that gets the equivalent of 100 mpg; can be fully recharged at night when excess energy capacity is available; relies on electricity produced in clean, safe domestic power plants; and delivers all the performance and comfort of a traditional gasoline-powered car without the damaging emissions or dangerous geopolitics.
That is a vehicle that I believe the American consumer will not just consider, but buy. We look forward to selling it.—Mike Jackson
At the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit, Jackson said that the United States should raise taxes on gasoline to encourage the development of more fuel-efficient technologies.
We’re at a tipping point here. We have to do something to favor the new technologies and send a message to American consumers that gasoline prices are going to be systematically higher. A gas tax is a statement from the government that this is an issue of national security and we’re going to do something about it.—Mike Jackson
(A hat-tip to Felix Kramer!)