The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its 2017 budget proposal that includes a 32% reduction in spending for the Clean Cities program. The 2017 budget proposal also trims back the vehicle technologies deployment fund by one-third.
The 2017 budget proposal reduces funding for “Outreach, Deployment and Analysis” from $48.4 million in FY2016 to $31.5 million for FY2017, completely eliminating funding for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Community Partner projects. This funding has gone toward city and state-level projects such as REFUEL Colorado, which provides grants and funding for alternative fuel vehicle purchases and conversions. The vehicle technologies deployment fund also had its funding decreased, from $32 million to $23 million.
However, the DOE’s 2017 budget does include additional funding for projects such as the SuperTruck II initiative. That project has been granted an additional $60 million to develop ways to double the fuel efficiency of Class 7 and Class 8 commercial vehicles by 2020 (as compared with 2009 model-year vehicles).
The DOE’s 2017 budget proposal also includes $282 million for the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge that hopes to lower the cost of electric vehicle battery and drivetrain technologies 50% by 2020 (as compared with 2012 prices).
Clean Cities has awarded $377 million since its inception in 1993, saving an estimated 7.5 billion gallons of petroleum. The program has the goal of reducing petroleum use by 2.5 billion gallons per year by 2020, saving an estimated 1 billion gallons of oil in 2014 alone.
You can read the DOE’s 2017 budget in brief here. The section regarding Clean Cities funding can be found here on page 46.
This budget approach is a disaster and comes exactly at the wrong time, putting money into a number of R&D efforts that have little substantial measurable payback. What we need is DEPLOYMENT, not R&D.
However, Clean Cities coalitions and our many industry and fleet stakeholders are fighting back against these cuts and attempts to divert funding into other areas. Visit TransportationEnergyPartners.org.