At Daimler, Obama talks up alternative-fuel vehicle plan

President Barack Obama visited a Daimler Truck North America plant in North Carolina to tout a new plan to support alternative vehicles.

President Barack Obama visited a Daimler Truck North America plant in North Carolina to tout a new plan to support alternative vehicles.

President Barack Obama made a call for alternative energy and a move away from imported oil during a speech at a Freightliner truck assembly plant in Mount Holly, N.C., Wednesday.

As the Charlotte Business Journal reported, the president talked up the need for new sources of energy.

“We’re not going to be able to drill our way out of high oil prices,” he said.

Obama also announced a new federal program to boost tax breaks for those who buy alternative-energy vehicles. Such buyers, including those who buy non-gasoline powered trucks and natural gas-fueled cars, will soon get $10,000 in tax incentives instead of the current $7,500.

The president also had words of encouragement for the truck plant workers. “Here at Daimler, you’re not just building trucks, you’re building better trucks.”

Last November, the Mount Holly plant, which is owned by Portland-based Daimler Trucks North America, celebrated the production of its 1,000th natural gas-power truck.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, put out a statement Wednesday supporting the president's proposal.

The initiative is similar to the Promoting Electric Vehicles act that Merkley proposed with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., last year.

"Every day, I hear from Oregonians who are being hit hard by high gas prices," Merkley said. "We need to do much more to reduce our dependence on this volatile fuel source, much of which comes from nations that do not have our best interests at heart. Electric and alternative fuel vehicles can reduce our addiction to foreign oil, while creating jobs here at home and reducing harmful pollution in our communities. I am proud that President Obama is seeking to build off the bill Senator Alexander and I introduced and look forward to working with the Administration to advance this initiative."

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