Lowe Promotes Hybrid Tax Breaks

by : Anthony Fontanelle



Actor Rob Lowe appeared before lawmakers last Thursday and promoted tax credits for people who add a plug-in feature to hybrid cars and trucks.

Lowe went to Capitol Hill last week to tout plug-in hybrids and a bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. The said bill would give car owners tax breaks for converting their hybrids into plug-in models that can be recharged using a regular wall outlet.

It can be recalled that automakers were disappointed by the decision to include Lowe, while none of them was invited. In his statement, Lowe twice quoted his Sam Seaborn character from TV's "The West Wing" and said that the car has improved his driving skills since he tries to get a better mileage. Additionally, Lowe portrays a junior senator from California on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters."

"I have been driving this car around and I have to tell you, it did what my mother couldn't do. It did what my driving instructor couldn't do, it's made me a better driver," Lowe stressed.

Lowe testified Thursday before a special House panel created to respond to energy and global warming concerns. Later, the actor appeared at a demonstration about three blocks from the Capitol featuring a Toyota Prius that had been converted to a plug-in hybrid.

In an interview by the Associated Press, Lowe said that his interest in clean energy was not new. Recent events, he said, led him to become more active on the issue. "The first money I ever made and was able to invest, I invested in an alternative energy company going back 25 years," he said. "Like a lot of Americans, I've been watching as the climate changes and as we are in a war on terror where our oil addiction helps fund people that want to kill us. It's gotten my attention."

Lowe promoted plug-in hybrids, which have both electric and gasoline motors, plus a battery pack that can be recharged at home. "I have been driving this car around and I have to tell you, it did what my mother couldn't do. It did what my driving instructor couldn't do - it's made me a better driver," Lowe added.

As the issues for global warming and increasing gas prices continue to bother the Congress, automaker and the general public, auto parts and product lines are subject to closer scrutiny. Toyota engines, and other auto parts may be required to be enhanced soon to cope with the fuel regulations.