The Department of Energy is putting money into clean fuel technology to spur clean auto technology.
The Obama administration said this week it hoped to promote clean auto technology by giving at least $175 million to car companies and research centers. So reports Reuters.
The announcement follows new auto standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama visited a battery factory in Michigan to promote the initiative. The government hopes the money will not just spur manufacturing of clean fuel, more gas-efficient cars, and advanced car batteries but that it will help create skilled jobs, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement on Wednesday.
General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, are among the companies that received money to put toward creating more efficient fuels, lubricants, and batteries, as well as more lightweight materials. There are also about 12 projects devoted to producing longer-lasting electric batteries that cost less.
By 2015, America will be able to produce 500,000 hybrid and plug-in vehicles and about 40% of all advanced batteries, according to Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.
The president was criticized for his clean fuel agenda by those who thought it gave competition away. His administration hopes funding U.S. auto companies will counter that criticism.
This week, the president toured a battery factory that received government money, Reuters reports. The factory, run by Johnson Controls, manufactures lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electric-powered vehicles. Job growth, fuel independence and clean fuel are a large part of Obama’s reelection campaign.
It will be the president’s second visit to Holland, Michigan. Last summer, he toured a battery plant owned by LG Chem. The company also received money under a government initiative to build new car battery factories in America.
Under the new fuel efficiency standards, carmakers have until 2025 to produce cars and light-duty trucks that have an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles a gallon, according to Reuters. Commercial trucks, buses and vans will cut their fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20% by 2018.
The government estimates that Americans will save about $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and that those who own commercial vehicles reduce their fuel costs by $50 billion through the programs. The president hopes the two programs will cut U.S. oil imports by one-third before 2025.
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