Tag: Policy

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Congressional Committee Charges Up for EV Hearing
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Farm Bill Includes Energy Title

Congressional Committee Charges Up for EV Hearing

By Scott Aliferis

Congress will continue its review and oversight of automotive and energy issues this week. On Tuesday, May 8, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing entitled “Sharing the Road: Policy Implications of Electric and Conventional Vehicles in the Years Ahead”.

The Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois), has invited a diverse set of witnesses to provide testimony on the wide range of issues, opportunities and challenges facing consumers, automakers, utilities and other stakeholders.

According to a subcommittee memo, the following issues may be examined at the hearing:

  • The reasons for the current growth in EVs and expected future trends in electrification.
  • The policy implications of increasing EV market penetration.
  • The impact of EVs on fueling infrastructure and on the nation’s electrical grid.
  • The response of liquid fuel providers and automakers to changing market trends.
  • The consumer impacts of changing trends in transportation fuels and vehicles.

Another likely topic is the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 on the purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle, depending upon the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. During last year’s Congressional debate on tax reform, the credit was preserved despite opposition from some House Republicans. However, the incentive begins to phase out after each manufacturer sells 200,000 electric vehicles. Many automakers may hit the limit this year. A group of 36 utilities cosigned a letter in March urging Congress to modify the credit and eliminate the cap. Pacific Gas & Electric was a signatory and its CEO is one of the witnesses for tomorrow’s hearing.

Other witnesses will offer important perspectives and data on the current marketplace and outlook for EV adoption. Additionally, there will be debate surrounding the existing policy and regulatory structures at the state and federal levels and what changes or modifications should be considered.

Farm Bill Includes Energy Title

After years of negotiations, the United States House and Senate have passed a comprehensive Farm Bill which will be signed into law by President Obama on February 7 at Michigan State University, the alma mater of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). On February 4, the Senate voted 68-32 to approve the five-year authorization bill, formally titled the Agriculture Act of 2014. The House passed the legislation last week.

While the bill predictably includes provisions which impact farm programs and also authorizes nutrition programs, in addition, it includes an Energy Title which provides support to many feedstock growers as well as traditional farmers who improve the energy efficiency of their operations.

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