Last week, President Obama released his administration's 2015 budget, and many investments from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would provide solid support for various initiatives related to alternative fuel vehicles.
Overall, the president's budget provides a 2.6% increase in DOE discretionary funds over 2014 levels, up to $27.9 billion. The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) – where a substantial number of federal alt-fuel and clean transportation initiatives originate – would get $2.3 billion for 2015.
Specifically, funding for the support of advanced vehicle and alternative fuel technologies is earmarked at a level 15% greater for 2015 than what was enacted for 2014.
‘Building on previous investments supporting U.S. electric and alternative-fuel vehicle development and manufacturing, the budget provides $359 million in discretionary funding for DOE vehicle technology activities,’ budget documents read.
Among the initiatives that would receive funding is the EV Everywhere program, along with other alternative fuel vehicle activities that would be led by the DOE's Clean Cities groups. The budget would also direct funds to states and localities to ‘improve the integration and utilization of natural gas in manufacturing and transportation.’
The DOE's piece of the budget would also include various initiatives specifically related to the domestic shale gas industry – the growth and success of which is hugely responsible for the steady rise of natural gas vehicle deployments in the U.S. recently. For instance, support would come in the form of ‘technical assistance to states and local communities to help ensure shale gas is developed in a safe, responsible way.’
Additionally, the budget aims to put money toward building a stronger domestic biofuels market. Approximately $253 million would help the DOE ‘develop and demonstrate conversion technologies to produce advanced biofuels, such as 'drop-in' replacements for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.’
Also, the DOE would manage $2 billion over a 10-year period, funded through federal oil and gas development revenue, in a new Energy Security Trust – a concept that Obama first unveiled last winter. The trust would ‘provide a reliable stream of mandatory funding for R&D on cost-effective transportation alternatives utilizing cleaner fuels such as electricity, homegrown biofuels, renewable hydrogen and domestically produced natural gas.’
More details about the president's budget are available here.