U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation to promote a more diverse mix of transportation fuels, cut consumer costs and reduce Americans' dependence on oil in the transportation sector.
The Alternative Fueled Vehicles Competitiveness and Energy Security Act of 2013 expands existing Department of Energy loan programs to support advanced vehicle technologies and fuel the growth of next-generation infrastructure for innovative fuels, removing a barrier to the expansion of electric, natural gas and other alternative-fueled vehicles. The bill would also provide funding for manufacturers of cars, heavy-duty trucks, trains and other vehicles using natural gas, propane, electricity, biofuels and hydrogen.
"Now is the time to strengthen our energy security and ensure that America is the leader in alternative energy," Stabenow said. "This important legislation helps support American businesses that create jobs while reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Alternative fuels need to be part of our national energy solution and can help create the high-tech jobs of the future here at home."
"As long as our nation is dependent on oil, American consumers will find themselves at the mercy of gas prices that are beyond their control," Wyden said. "By diversifying our fuel mix, we increase competition in the global fuel markets, lowering costs to consumers and introducing more choice into our nation's transportation system. Senator Stabenow and I have introduced this bill to make the "filling stations of the future' a reality and foster the next generation of transportation fuels."
The bill encourages public-private partnerships by providing technical assistance to state and local governments for alternative fuel vehicle deployment and the building of related infrastructure. The bill also provides grants to community colleges and higher education institutions to establish training programs for a next-generation workforce to manufacture, install and maintain a growing alternative fueled vehicle fleet and refueling infrastructure. Finally, the bill would require the Energy Department to report the amount of oil displaced by alternative fuels and identify barriers to large-scale alternative fueled vehicle deployment.
A broad range of stakeholder groups has expressed support for the bill, including the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, Natural Gas Vehicles for America, Global Automakers, the American Public Gas Association, Drive Oregon, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the Electric Drive Transportation Association.