Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress
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Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress

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      Alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles are seen by proponents as integral to improving urban air quality, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. However, major barriers especially economics currently prevent the widespread use of these fuels and technologies. Because of these barriers, and the potential benefits, there is continued congressional interest in providing incentives and other support for their development and commercialization. Alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles have been addressed early in the 111th Congress, as both the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) contained provisions supporting their development and deployment. While some of these provisions were removed in conference, the final version still contains provisions for tax incentives, federal grants and loans, and other federal support for alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. The 111th Congress is likely to further discuss alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles as it addresses other key topics. These include their role in any federal policy to address climate change, and their role in federal energy policy. The 111th Congress may also play an oversight role in the development of major regulations: the Environmental Protection Agencys implementation of the renewable fuel standard enacted in 2005, and expanded in 2007; the Department of Transportations implementation of new fuel economy standards enacted in 2007; and the Department of Agricultures implementation of a new Farm Bill enacted in 2008. In the 110th Congress, alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles received a good deal of attention, especially in discussions over U.S. energy security.
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