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Natural-gas car proposal could boost Greensburg Honda plant

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Hoping to spur alternative vehicles, lawmakers want to double the size of tax breaks on cars that run on natural gas.

That could be good news for Indiana, where Honda Motor Corp. produces the natural-gas-powered Civic GX at its Greensburg plant. Right now, Honda is the only automaker selling natural-gas-powered cars to U.S. consumers.

Senators joined Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens yesterday to propose legislation that would increase tax credits for natural gas that were created by a 2005 energy law. About 10 million vehicles globally run on natural gas, but only a small fraction of those are in the United States.

"Natural-gas-vehicle technology is here, and all that's needed is the policies to jump-start the industry to make it flourish," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who introduced the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also supports the plan.

Pickens has spent the past year pushing his "Pickens Plan," which includes more investment in wind and solar energy, rebuilding of the nation's electrical grid and replacing gasoline with natural gas in cars and trucks. He said the incentives would help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

The tax credits, which can be used to provide 80 percent of the added cost to buy a natural gas-fueled car instead of a typical vehicle, would increase to $12,500 for passenger cars and light trucks under legislation unveiled yesterday. The tax credits currently stand at $5,000 and are set to expire in 2010.

The bill includes more generous incentives for larger vehicles, typically used in government fleets. It also extends several natural gas tax credits for 10 years and encourages government fleets to add more alternative vehicles.

Honda began selling the natural-gas-powered Civic GX to consumers in 2005 after first offering the vehicle to fleets from 1997. The company said the vehicle costs about half as much to fuel as a similar gasoline-engine car.

“We welcome any decision from the U.S. government that benefits our customers,” Yasuko Matsuura, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Honda, told Bloomberg News, but she declined to say whether the company would boost output of the vehicle if the legislation becomes law.

Honda’s natural-gas-powered Civic GX sells at a list price of $25,190 while a similar gasoline-engine Civic lists at $17,055.

The GX costs less to operate than a gasoline-powered Civic, but it averages only about 220 miles per fueling and has only about half as much trunk space, Todd Mittleman, a Honda spokesman, told Bloomberg.

Honda plans to sell between “1,500 and 2,000” of the cars this year, Mittleman said.

Production of the car was moved to Honda’s Greensburg plant this year from East Liberty, Ohio. Greensburg is about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis, in Decatur County.

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  1. A couple of issues need some clarification especially since my name was on the list. I am not sure how this information was obtained and from where. For me, the amount was incorrect to begin with and the money does not come to me personally. I am guessing that the names listed are the Principal Investigators (individual responsible for the conduct of the trail) for the different pharmaceutical trials and not the entity which receives the checks. In my case, I participate in Phase II and Phase III trials which are required for new drug development. Your article should differentiate the amount of money received for consulting, for speaking fees, and for conduct of a clinical trial for new drug development. The lumping of all of these categories may give the reader a false impression of physicians just trying to get rich. The Sunshine Law may help to differentiate these categories in the future. The public should be aware that the Clinical Trial Industry could be a real economic driver for Indiana since these revenues supports jobs and new job creation. Nationally, this account for 10-20 billion which our State is missing out on to a large degree. Yes, new drug and technology development has gotten most of the attention (e.g. CTSI, BioCrossroads, etc.) However, serious money is being left on the table by not participating in the clinical trials to get those new drugs and medical devices on the market!!!! I guess that this is not sexy enough for academia.

  2. The address given for the Goldfish Swim Club is the Ace Hardware, is it closing?

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  5. You guys are being really rude to gays in the comments. (Not all of you, I presume). You need to stop it. Gays have just as much of a right to marry as straight people do. It's not fair how you guys are denying them equal rights. They're acting more human than you'll ever be. We obviously haven't matured since the bible was last updated. Hate the sin, not the sinner. You've all committed a sin at least once in your life. You've lied, you've stolen, etc. (Those are just possibilities). We should have a planet for people that support gay rights and a planet for people that don't. Then, gay people could get married without you bigots interfering with their love life. How would you feel if straights couldn't get married? How would you feel if teenagers were afraid to come out to their parents as straight? If straight people got hate everywhere they went? If straight people were afraid to go out in public, because they feared being judged? It's never going to happen at the rate society is going. You haven't seen the side of me where I act obscene. You're glad my inner demon hasn't been released. I would, but oh no, my comment would be removed because of my very strong emotions about this subject. I love gays, and love how they show their affection for each other. I just ADORE how a state is going to give same-sex couples a marriage license, then changes their mind. (I was obviously being sarcastic there). I just LOVE how society thinks gays are an abomination to our society. You're caring about marriage between two men or two women. That's a small thing. Just grow up, and let them marry. Let them live their lives. You can't make them change their sexuality. You can't make them change their lifestyle. In my opinion, gays are more than welcome to marry. Please, grow up and realize that people should be allowed to marry, even if it's same-sex marriage. You guys are saying that "the bible said gay marriage is wrong." Well, guess what else is wrong? Read Matthew:7 and you'll find out. (I am in no way breaking that. I am saying a fact). I'm stating that gays have just as much of a right to marry as straights do. (:

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