Sure, the next U.S. president will have an impact on issues like homeland security, immigration, health care, education and energy, of course.
But TheCarConnection.com has written an analysis exploring what the automotive site calls "the real issue for the next presidential term: What's going to be cool to drive for the next four years?"
Editor Marty Padgett and Associate Editor Bengt Halvorson predict that diesel pickups, the Honda Accord diesel, the Ford Fiesta, the Chrysler 300C Hemi and the Kia Sorento are likely to be hits if Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wins the race.
Obama has been a vocal supporter of biodiesel and also has supported a $4 billion incentives package to encourage Detroit to build small fuel-efficient cars like the Fiesta, Halvorson wrote in a blog post.
The Chrysler was Obama's ride before he switched to the Ford Escape Hybrid, which Halvorson called "the politician's standby" (see Autoblog and Newsbusters). And a Texas Kia dealership used an Obama impersonator in a commercial advertising the Sorento (see The Daily Show and the U.S. News & World Report).
If Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is elected, Padgett and Halvorson forecast that the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic GX, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan electric vehicles could get a boost.
McCain is in favor of across-the-board incentives for high-mileage cars, which could most effect the Prius, the No. 1-selling hybrid that has long run out of its incentives, Halvorson wrote.
McCain has spoken out for more vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, such as the Honda Civic GS, and he is in favor of tax credits for zero-carbon-emission cars as well as a $300 million contest to fund electric-car batteries – both of which could benefit electric cars, according to the post.
Cars have become a significant campaign issue in the presidential debate.
For example, CalCars.org, a plug-in hybrid advocacy group, in a newsletter earlier this month noted the "increasingly direct and lively" race between the candidates specifically regarding plug-in car policies.
"We're thrilled that presidential candidates are talking about plug-in hybrids," CalCars.org Founder Felix Kramer said in a newsletter in June. "It shows we've reached a tipping point, where our elected leaders, CEOs and grass-roots advocates and automakers all agree it makes sense to power cars with cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity."
Aside from his $300 million prize for battery development, McCain has proposed a $5,000 tax credit. He has also discussed the possibility of increasing fines for automakers that don't meet the national fuel-economy standards and setting a goal of 50 percent new flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on biofuels (see USA Today and HybridCars).
Obama has included plug-in hybrids in his proposal to invest $150 billion in private clean-energy efforts over 10 years, and this month proposed a $7,000 tax credit to help consumers buy the vehicles as part of an effort to put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015. He's also promoted higher fuel-economy standards and a low-carbon fuel standard.