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Senate to Consider Federal Intervention to Aide Auto Industry

MEMA has learned that the Senate is expected to begin studying potential government roles in supporting General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler in 2006. The discussion could dovetail with increasing congressional interest in addressing energy use in the transportation sector.

According to reports, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said the first step will be a hearing in the effort to ascertain the right course of action for the government in assisting the American automakers. Actions could include manufacturing tax incentives to retool factories and produce fuel efficient vehicles and their components.

Lugar says the hearing will provide an opportunity for lawmakers to sit down with the automakers and begin developing a strategy toward a federal response.

Last month Lugar introduced legislation that would mandate all vehicles produced in the United States be capable of using E-85 (a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Congressional sources say that Lugar's bill is meant to support steps the automakers have already taken to produce more fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles. The bill would lead to all vehicles being E-85 capable in 10 years.