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Obama continues to press for more fuel-efficient vehicles with new budget proposal

Despite the fact that consumers are not adopting electric vehicles and hybrids in force, the Obama administration continues to push ahead encouraging new vehicle research and broader availability for electric vehicles and hybrids. The federal government has handed out loans to help spur research and development to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles and other green technologies to market, and those loans have backfired on several occasions.

While Tesla Motors by all accounts seems to be thriving, producing upwards of 500 cars/week, some of its competitors haven’t been so lucky. Fisker was one of the recipients of a large government-backed loan and the company is expected to file bankruptcy soon.
President Obama has sent his 2014 budget proposal to Congress this week and while many programs and services are seeing their budgets cut, Obama is calling for a massive boost in money available for vehicle research. President Obama wants to increase the Energy Departments vehicle research budget by 75% to $575 million.

Tesla Model S assembly line [Image Source: Tesla Motors via Flickr]

Obama also wants to create a $2 billion trust fund to research ways to wean the country off foreign oil over the next 10 years.

"We'll continue our march toward energy independence," said Obama.

Obama is also calling for provisions in his budget to help jumpstart sagging electric vehicle sales. The president wants to increase the tax credit for electric vehicle purchases from $7,500 today to $10,000. With the current tax credit, the electric vehicle buyer takes the tax incentive as a discount on their yearly taxes. Obama's new plan would allow consumers to take the discount at the point of sale as a rebate.

The budget also wants to accelerate research and development for emerging battery technologies and new manufacturing processes to allow the automotive industry to produce cheaper electric vehicles with better range and faster charging capability.

Source: Detroit News

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By Samus on 4/11/2013 12:01:15 PM , Rating: 1
Considering the tar sand pipeline failure last week in Arkansas, I don't see the keystone XL ever taking off.

The keystone is the worst man-made disaster waiting to happen. Tar sands have chunks of rock (even granite) that will most definitely cause pipeline failures.

Oil pipelines have long been unreliable with many leaking as we speak, some having been leaking for years without any attention. Making one that pumps acidic, sticky tar, corrosive salt and even solid rock in addition to abrasive sand, under pressure, across 1700 miles, is a ridiculous idea.

What will eventually happen is the sands will be processed where they are (in Canada, by either Canadian or US oil investment) and pump down the crude oil (relatively safe in comparison to tar sands) to further refine into petroleum in the United States.

The wasteful process of converting tar sands to oil:

The Exxon tar sand spill from last week:

The technical problems with pumping tar sands due to pipeline strength:

By Ringold on 4/11/2013 3:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you're calling them liars, Canada's saying instead it'll ship it to China, where it'll no doubt be refined and burned less cleanly then it is here. I don't see how this is environmentally friendly.

Even the NIMBY angle is silly. Look at a US map of existing pipelines. They're already virtually everywhere.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2013 6:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
Great "forward" thinking there. Lets not ever do anything if there's risk involved or if there's even a chance of something going wrong...

By Mint on 4/12/2013 10:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
If we don't build a pipeline, the tar sands will be shipped by rail, trucks, and by sea. That's far worse for the environment from every perspective.

Obama is going to approve it this year or next. He barely cared at all about carbon tax or caps, and this doesn't have nearly the same environmental effect.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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