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>Michigan senator Carl Levine sure does know how to ruffle a few feathers.

At the 2010 Business of Plugging In Conference he proposed an uncompromising new goal for manufacturers and policy makers alike,”Nothing less than making electric vehicles affordable and attractive to every American family.”

It’s not news that the auto industry has suffered big blows over the past years. In order to recover and progress, Levine argues, it must be forward-thinking. In 2010 this means only one thing – the industry has got to go green.

But this is impossible without help. Levine calls on the U.S. government to take a more forceful approach to promoting clean vehicles. It’s only fear and party politics that makes them unwilling to meddle with industry policy, he says.

Could Levine be suggesting a gas consumption tax? Well, maybe.

In his most contentious statement, Levine called for the complete abolition of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations, “CAFE forces auto manufacturers to focus on incremental improvements rather than dramatic leaps forward. CAFE is a rowboat, when what we need is a high-tech whitewater raft, something to carry us with confidence towards that ultimate goal: affordable alternatives to the internal combustion engine.”

In its place, he suggests the establishment of a government/industry partnership that works together to prepare for a market that will one day be dominated by EV’s and hybrids.

During his long career in the senate Levine has grown a reputation as the “best friend of the auto industry.” Could this controversial new effort win him the the title of “savior of the industry” as well?