Senate passes bill to increase fuel efficiency

Senate passes bill to increase fuel efficiency

The U.S. Senate has voted to reauthorize a $1.6 billion Energy Department program for research and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles and of vehicle-to-vehicle communication –connected cars.” The bill passed despite objections from conservatives who pointed to the failure of past programs such as a loan to Fisker Automotive.

The measure was part of a broad energy bill that had been held up over an amendment providing funding to help the Flint water crisis. The amendment was removed, and the bill passed on an 85-12 vote.

–The cars and trucks of the future will be equipped with technology making them safer and more fuel-efficient, and we must ensure that the United States leads the way in developing these innovations,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

The bill reauthorizes and modernizes the Department of Energyês Vehicle Technologies Program, which Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has discussed every year at The Washington Auto Show. The program works with auto manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency. Examples of the technologies include mild hybrid, engine down speeding, power pack modeling and testing, advanced boosting systems, hydrogen and natural gas refueling and electric vehicle charging technology.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers was among the groups that applauded passage of the bill. The energy bill will now have to be reconciled with a House version passed last December. The House energy bill does not include the fuel efficiency measure, but other legislation in the House does.

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