Obama to Address America's Energy Plans, Congress Still Hasn't Approved 2011's Energy Agenda
January 24, 2012 12:43 PM
Obama wanted to increase federal subsidies for electric vehicles to almost $590 million, but Congress never gave the green light
U.S. President Barack Obama planned to increase federal subsidies for
to almost $590 million, but Congress has not yet approved this hefty agenda.
The $590 million EV boost was presented in Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, where $200 million of that total would be put toward EV infrastructure development in up to 30 cities. The idea reflected bipartisan bills brought to light in 2010.
"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," said Obama in the 2011 State of the Union address. "We've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge."
Congress still hasn't approved the policy changes for EVs, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"There are absolutely things that remain undone that need to be done that he will call on all of us to work together to get done in this address and beyond," said Carney.
Obama is expected to talk today about an "economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed and produced by American workers."
Funding and loans for alternative energy have been scrutinized lately. In October 2011, Mitt Romney, a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination,
blasted the $1 billion in loans given to Tesla and Fisker Automotive
. That wasn't the first time he criticized aid to the auto industry, though. In 2008, he disagreed with former U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to give bailouts to U.S. automakers.
In September 2011, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), a Hyundai and Chevrolet dealer, suggested killing off the $7,500 tax credit for EVs entirely.
"The bottom line is, while our nation borrows 42 cents on every dollar, taxpayers are paying for an electric vehicle tax credit that has cost tens of millions of dollars, and that largely benefits upper-income Americans," said Kelly.
Obama, however, planned to convert the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs into a rebate that would be given to customers upon purchasing an electric vehicle. He made this announcement in January 2011.
To make matters worse, EVs have been placed under the spotlight due to recent battery troubles associated with General Motors' Chevrolet Volt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a series of tests in May and November last year where three separate
Volt batteries sparked or caught fire
after side-impact tests.
Electric vehicles are not the only targets for alternative energy-related criticism. Back in September 2011, Silicon Valley-based solar panel company
Solyndra went bankrupt
after receiving a $535 million loan from the Obama administration in 2009. The move was set to stimulate economic growth through environmentally friendly jobs, but government employees warned back in 2009 that Solyndra would indeed go bankrupt in a matter of two years. The loan pushed through anyway in order to meet political deadlines.
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