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Obama proposes fund to accelerate electric vehicle pilots

15 February 2013
Obama proposes fund to accelerate electric vehicle pilots

NEW YORK: In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed the creation of a US$2 billion Energy Security Trust – a fund to support research and commercial scale pilots for alternative fuel technologies, such as electric and natural gas vehicles.

The fund would be financed by federal royalty revenues from new production of oil and natural gas on federal lands.

“Tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good,” President Obama said.

“If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we.”

The coalition the President referred to is Securing America’s Energy Future (SAFE), which first proposed the concept of an Energy Security Trust in its National Strategy for Energy Security in 2008. Republicans in Congress including Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have since backed the proposal.

"There is an idea I may agree with in the president’s State of the Union address – an Energy Security Trust,” Murkowski said. “I intend to get to work on this as soon as possible."

But a key difference between the two proposals sheds some uncertainty on its future. While the SAFE and Murkowski proposals see funds coming from oil and gas production on new federal lands, such as the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the President’s plan would secure the funds from production on existing lands.

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group, said: “The idea with the original proposal was to move beyond some of the partisanship by including something for everyone – new oil and gas production for Republicans, and new funds for clean technologies for Democrats.

"Whether or not agreement can be found on the issue of new versus existing lands will likely determine how far the proposal gets in Congress.”



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