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USA: Budget Shortfall Could Imperil Subsidies for Electric Vehicles

PORTLAND, Ore. — In a city as eco-conscious as this one, it shouldn’t surprise that Chris Paine’s 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” is a bit of a cult favorite. A cautionary tale about the shortsightedness of automakers and politicians, it is also a call to action for those here who are busy promoting the development and adoption of E.V.’s.

¶Yet while the latest generation of plug-in vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are only just hitting the streets, there are already warning signs that the industry could be scuttled before it becomes self-sufficient. This time, though, the culprits are not the automakers, who last time stopped developing electric cars when oil prices fell, but lawmakers in Washington eager to shrink the national debt.

¶The so-called Deficit Super Committee is rushing to devise a plan that will eliminate $1.2 trillion in federal spending. Everything is on the table, from massive entitlement programs to relatively small subsidies for emerging industries like electric vehicles.
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