David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau
Washington -- The Senate Energy Committee has approved a $3.6 billion bill to boost electric vehicles.
The bill approved on a 19-4 vote this morning is a scaled-back version of an $11 billion bill first proposed in May.
But its fate is still in doubt as Senate Democrats are debating whether to include new electric vehicle funding as part of an energy bill they hope to approve before Congress goes home.
The bill authored by U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., seeks to promote the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles through a series of "deployment communities."
The Promoting Electric Vehicle Act of 2010, would extend and expand national incentives to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles.
"Passing this legislation will strengthen our national security and improve the air we breathe, while relying on our abundant and diverse electricity supply to fuel our cars," Dorgan said. "We are now one step closer to dramatically reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil that hurts our economy, helps our enemies and puts our security at risk. Domestic petroleum will always be an important part of our country's energy strategy, but we also must invest in alternative energy approaches including electric cars."
The bill would create "deployment communities" across the country, where targeted incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure systems would help demonstrate rapid market penetration and determine what best practices would be helpful for nationwide deployment of electric vehicles.
Dorgan wants to electrify half its cars and trucks by 2030, which if achieved, would cut U.S. demand for oil by about one-third.