One Week, Two Bills: Senators Throw Support Behind Alternative Fuels

This week, U.S. Senators introduced two pieces of legislation that could help spur the deployment of more alternative fuel vehicles.

At the headquarters of propane company AmeriGas, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., unveiled on Monday the Clean Vehicle Corridors Act. The bill aims to designate U.S. Department of Transportation funding and establish new policies for the development of clean fueling stations on federal highways throughout the nation.

According to Casey's office, other provisions include changing weight restrictions for heavy-duty alternative fuel trucks and creating parking spaces specifically for clean vehicles.

‘Pennsylvania has quickly become a leader in alternative energy, which has had a substantial impact on jobs and economic growth,’ Casey said. ‘This legislation can help Pennsylvania take the next step in the development of alternative fuels. Putting in place more clean energy infrastructure and making it easier for businesses to transport their goods using alternative energy will help these businesses grow and create jobs.’

Separately, Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced the Alternative Fueled Vehicles Competitiveness and Energy Security Act of 2013, on Wednesday.

The legislation would extend various U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding opportunities to alternative fuel vehicles and related infrastructure. For example, the bill would allow alternative fuel filling stations to qualify for the Section 1703 loan program.

The bill would also allot $50 million annually from 2014 to 2018 to provide technical help to states, local governments and public-private partnerships working to deploy alternative fuels, alt-fuel vehicles and refueling infrastructure. Another $50 million per year would go to workforce training programs, and millions more would go to the promotion of alternative fuels under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program.

In addition, the legislation would create an interagency council tasked with examining the use of electric and natural gas vehicles among federal fleets.

‘As long as our nation is dependent on oil, American consumers will find themselves at the mercy of gas prices that are beyond their control,’ Wyden said in a statement. ‘By diversifying our fuel mix, we increase competition in the global fuel markets, lowering costs to consumers and introducing more choice into our nation's transportation system. Senator Stabenow and I have introduced this bill to make the 'filling stations of the future' a reality and foster the next generation of transportation fuels.’

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