By a vote of 312-114, this afternoon the House passed the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act (HR 3246) which strengthens and reauthorizes the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Program — investing in a diverse range of near-term and long-term vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency, support domestic research and manufacturing, and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies and fuels.
American innovation must bring about new vehicle technologies to reduce our dependence on petroleum, reduce dangerous C02 emissions by vehicles, and strengthen our economy and protect American jobs. The bill authorizes $550 million per year for the next five years (increasing with inflation) for all vehicle technology programs at the Department of Energy:
$200 million will be for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles
$30 million will be for user facilities
$20 million will be for a non-road pilot program (e.g., construction and agricultural vehicles)
$300 million will go toward diverse passenger and commercial vehicle technologies, such as the hybridization or full electrification of vehicle systems to reduce gasoline use
Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN):
From passenger cars to heavy duty long-haul trucks, we are all aware of the economic, environmental, and strategic importance of diversifying our nation's vehicle sector through innovation in cleaner and more efficient technologies. However, the current economic situation has made it all the more difficult for companies to invest in the research and technology development to get us there. Department of Energy programs play an invaluable role in filling this critical gap. This bill provides a critical foundation of support to ensure U.S. leadership in developing and producing the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies.
Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), author of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, on its passage:
There is a global competition right now to determine which countries will produce the cars and trucks of the future. There is no doubt that in the years ahead more Americans will be driving hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The only question is whether these new technologies will be researched, developed, and manufactured here in the United States creating American jobs or whether this technology will be built overseas. The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act will help ensure that the American automobile industry will continue to be globally competitive, and that we as a nation will not trade our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign batteries and other emerging technology.