Saturday, July 24, 2010

Electric Vehicle Bill Passes Energy Committee

An electric vehicles bill received rare bipartisan support last week. On July 21 2010, a bill by Senators Dorgan (D-N.D.), Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Merkley (D-Ore.) was approved by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 19-4.

The “Promoting Electric Vehicle Act of 2010,” will reduce fossil fuel consumption through initiatives that will increase the adoption of electric cars and trucks. The fact that 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans supported this bill in the Energy Committee shows that bipartisanship is possible.

“It is outstanding to see bipartisan support for trading in the dirty, expensive fuels of the 19th century for the clean, efficient fuels of the 21st century,” Merkley said. “The bottom line is that electric vehicles save families money on fuel, cause less pollution, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I’m proud to partner with Senators Dorgan and Alexander in the drive toward a stronger America.”

The electric vehicle bill includes provisions for “deployment communities” that would oversee targeted incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructures. This program is designed to accelerate market penetration and develop nationwide best practices for the deployment of electric vehicles.

The goal of the electric vehicle legislation is to have half of US cars and trucks electric powered by 2030. According to the bill's authors, this would cut US demand for oil by about one-third.

Electric vehicles are important, but a forward looking energy strategy must concurrently encourage the growth of renewable sources of power. It is unfortunate that the show of Republican bipartisanship does not carry over to a more comprehensive smart energy policy.

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